UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


New UCL study investigates how building performance data can help achieve net zero carbon healthcare

25 July 2023

New research project led by Dr Esfand Burman from the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering aims to fill the evidence gap that is hindering NHS net zero targets

Row of hospital beds in a ward

Historically, unlike secondary care, there has been less capacity in primary care to address issues related to the decarbonisation of NHS estates.

The new project will harness data used to produce energy performance certificates for NHS buildings. This will help to identify potential interventions that could be rolled-out to achieve a Net Zero Carbon NHS and will have a specific focus on healthcare buildings which are in primary care.

In January 2020, the NHS launched its 'For a Greener NHS' campaign to accelerate efforts to tackle climate change with a series of co-ordinated measures to reduce its carbon output. The NHS has now set out targets for the emissions controlled by NHS to be net zero by 2040, and the emissions the NHS influences to be net zero by 2045. With over 3,000 properties in their portfolio, NHS Property Services is in a prime position to lead the transition to net zero carbon. This research project is a joint effort by the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering and NHS Property Services to inform and facilitate this transition.

This project seeks to address this imbalance by developing a ‘building performance stock model’ which will help to evaluate the effect of different interventions on reducing their use of energy and carbon emissions. Once the most effective net zero interventions are identified, their potential application will be investigated in a pilot study across three primary care sites.

The project team will work alongside those using the building (e.g., GP practices) to investigate the feasibility and practicalities of implementing these measures in real-world settings. The project is funded by UCL Partners’ Connecting for Change programme and is carried out in collaboration with NHS Property Services.



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