Community hospital becomes UK’s first to achieve carbon neutrality

By Jo Makosinski | Published: 25-Aug-2023

Rye Memorial Hospital reduces its carbon footprint by 100%

Rye, Winchelsea & District Memorial Hospital has become the UK’s first community hospital to achieve carbon neutrality.

The installation of its new renewable systems was followed by confirmation from its electricity supplier that all power now comes from fully-renewable sources such as solar panels and wind power.

This means the hospital has reduced its carbon footprint by 100%. 

And, by the end of 2024, it is estimated that the overall energy consumption at the hospital will have reduced by approximately 240,000 Kilowatt hours, a drop of 40% from 2020 figures.

The outcome is a total reduction of approximately 260 tonnes of carbon per year – the equivalent of planting approximately 4,300 trees. 

The project, commissioned in September 2021, has been designed and delivered by property maintenance specialist, DMA Group, and has been fully funded by the Rye Winchelsea and District Memorial Hospital charity. 

As part of the project, the hospital has replaced gas boilers with new electric flow boilers and calorifiers and replaced the kitchen gas-fired equipment, eliminating the use of gas completely. 

The installation of internal and external LED lighting with automatic controls means energy is not wasted by leaving lights on.

And it is estimated that its solar roof panels will generate more than 70,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

In addition, the hospital has also installed nine Tesla Powerwall solar batteries – three per phase of electricity – with a total storage capacity of 120 KW to capture all surplus electricity generated by the solar panels, reducing the demand for electricity from the external supply grid. 

A full clean of the hospital’s heating system and the replacement of all radiator valves has also ensured the heating system operates more efficiently and a Building Management System (BMS) used by the hospital’s inhouse FM team and DMA Group ensures onsite and remote live operational monitoring of all plant and equipment, energy utilisation, building, and water temperature.

This all ensures a better environment for patients and staff as each team can identify an issue before it becomes a problem. 

It is estimated that solar roof panels will generate more than 70,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year

It is estimated that solar roof panels will generate more than 70,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year

Many other projects have been completed as part of the. These include:

  • The installation of solar blinds in the nurses’ station to help reduce glare and heat to create a more-comfortable working environment 
  • A new air-conditioning system in the nurses’ station 
  • New air-conditioning units in the communications and medicine rooms to reduce the risk of equipment failure and the overheating of medicines 
  • Improvements to the hospital’s cold-water systems, including the installation of a chemical dosing system and cold-water booster, increasing the water pressure in the hospital and reducing the risk of bacterial infections such as legionella

Barry Nealon, chairman at Rye, Winchelsea & District Memorial Hospital, said: “Our goal was always to become a fully-functional, net-zero community hospital, but to have done it so quickly, and as the UK’s first, is beyond our expectations. 

“We had a mission to bring medical services closer to home for the benefit of our local community and to achieve this, we needed to reimagine our existing business models and aim for sustainable growth.”

Kevin Mcguane, energy services director at DMA, added: “We are confident that a return will be delivered in the short to medium term for the hospital.

“We have remained open and transparent with stakeholders about right design, solutions, and the costings, and this pro-active approach has enabled us to build a strong collaborative partnership with Rye Hospital that not only presented a route to net zero, but also a sound business case.” 

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