Investment into new gwent medical facilities supports the NHS net zero commitment

net zero commitment
© Chris Dorney

The Aneurin Bevan Health Board has invested in a solar-integrated roof for their newly opened HSDU facility in South Wales, which supports the NHS net zero commitment

In 2020 the government’s Health Infrastructure Plan (HIP) pledged to build 40 new hospitals by 2030 as part of a package worth £3.7 billion. New standards were developed to help formalise the design of the new hospitals, making use of modular construction methods alongside traditional methods to help speed up the build, with consideration to the net zero commitment the UK has made.

The challenge to reduce the environmental impact of new build projects is real, not only in the construction impacts but also in terms of operational energy demands. The NHS has committed to a ‘Greener NHS’, aiming towards net zero, with many Trusts already publishing their net zero roadmaps supporting progress towards this target by 2050 or before.

The healthcare system in the UK is responsible for an estimated 5% of the country’s carbon footprint. In 2020 the NHS set out its intention to support the government’s net zero ambition through its ‘Delivering a Net Zero National Health Service report.

The NHS’s ‘Estates’ Net Zero Carbon Delivery Plan’ published in August 2021, introduced a 4-step approach to decarbonising the NHS estate, of which one of the steps is to increase on-site renewables. The plan also references actions to tackle climate change in other areas, such as the electrification of the NHS fleet.

Delivering sustainability targets in the net zero commitment

Daniel Pillai, BiPVco Chairman, believes the investment into the NHS is an opportunity to deliver on their sustainability targets, “The HIP investment programme allows the NHS to create an estate fit for the clinical and patient needs of the future whilst aligning itself with the net zero carbon aspirations.

Our vision is to turn buildings into power stations to meet the energy trilemma. We believe solar is the best way to deliver affordable, secure and renewable energy, and we are ideally positioned to support the NHS in delivering its net zero objectives”.

Grange University Hospital HSDU

Part of the recently completed £350m 471-bed facility at the Grange University Hospital in Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran, which provides emergency and urgent care, the Hospital Sterilisation and Decontamination Unit (HSDU) is a vital facility for cleaning reusable surgical and medical equipment.

The £16 million project, funded by the Welsh Government, is the largest of its kind in Wales. The purpose-built unit, designed with efficiency in mind, sits adjacent to the Specialist and Critical Care Centre (SCCC). By combining the Health Board’s two current HSD sites, the project provides HSD services that are efficient and effective, maximising the use of available resources. In addition, the HSDU improves functionality and relationships between hospital departments and reduces delays in the supply of instrumentation.

The new facility was built on the site of a disused former canteen and storage facility; the location provides improved access for patient, laundry and service vehicles and is well connected with all areas of the broader hospital site.

As well as provision for the technically advanced decontamination cycle of reusable medical devices, the unit includes reception, offices, changing facilities, staff beverage and rest areas, training, and seminar space.

Turning buildings into power stations

BIPVco were approached to supply their Flextron thin film solar modules to be incorporated into the standing seam roof panels. Each vertical roof sheet has 2 x 240W solar modules.

BIPVco’s market-leading building integrated ‘thin ‘film’ PV solar module can be fitted to a variety of roofing panels. The thin film solar cells convert sunlight into energy through Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) technology. These panels can blend seamlessly onto commercial and residential roofs due to the product’s robustness and flexibility. Aesthetically, they easily meet architects’ modern demands and designs, including curved rooftops, giving many advantages compared to more commonly understood (and widely seen) crystalline-based conventional PV systems.

Daniel Pillai stated, “Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) is fast becoming the architect’s preferred approach for integrating solar PV into the building envelope. We understand the challenges from the architectural, construction contracting and thermo-mechanical viewpoints – this is a highly challenging sector for solar module manufacturers. We combine form and function by blending established construction products with cutting-edge solar solutions.”

As pressures continue over the need to produce more energy-efficient and sustainable buildings under the net zero commitment, using factory-fitted solar PV technology is a more reliable solution and has less room for error – especially during transportation and installation. This, in turn, positively impacts the patient experience that ongoing delays may otherwise affect.

Please Note: This is a Commercial Profile

Contributor Profile

Chairman Board of Directors
BIPV Limited (TA BIPVco)
Phone: +44 (0)330 113 1439
Website: Visit Website


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here