Integrated sustainable and resilient healthcare buildings
Climate change is a reality and is bringing considerable changes in the climate patterns in the UK, with increasing temperature and length of heatwaves, as well as rainfall. At the same time climate change-induced disasters occur more frequently and with greater intensity than in previous decades. The NHS is a major contributor to carbon emissions and at the same time, healthcare services can be affected by disruptions created by climate change due to both the direct effects of floods, heatwaves, and other extreme weather. The NHS has a legacy of old not fit for purpose healthcare buildings thus significant interventions will be required in the retained estate if net zero is to be achieved. In general terms, there are two types of built asset strategy when addressing climate change: mitigation and adaptation. The current NHS approach mainly focuses on mitigation strategies to reduce impacts of NHS facilities on climate change, with limited consideration for adaptation strategies and lack of integration between the two.
The project aims to develop a framework able to provide integrated mitigation strategies to transition to a zero-carbon future by 2050, and adaptation strategies to address existing climate change through better informed facilities and built asset management planning. A participatory research methodology will be implemented to guide the co-design, co-development, and co-testing of the framework. This is a three-year full-time research fellowship, which will see the active collaboration of the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust. The project aligns with several aspects of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy for its use of energy. This project will widen the existing knowledge by integrating sustainable and resilient strategies in a decision-making support framework for transition to zero carbon buildings that deliver high quality healthcare to citizens by 2050.