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NHS: Renewable Energy

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS buildings use heat generated by (a) solar panels and (b) ground source heat pumps. (292014)

The Department does not collect data centrally on the number of national health services buildings in England that use heat generated by solar panels and ground source heat pumps.

NHS organisations are legally autonomous and are best placed to make their own decisions locally about specific items of equipment, such as solar panels and ground source heat pumps, to ensure they are appropriate to meet their needs, circumstances and strategies.

The Department is committed to supporting the NHS to meet the requirements of the Climate Change Act 2008, such as carbon budgets and the forthcoming carbon reduction commitment. It is recognised that this will only be achieved by greater take-up by the NHS of renewable energy sources and better, more holistic energy efficiency measures. Provision by the Department of a £100 million energy and sustainability capital fund, encouraged the take-up of renewable energy forms of heat and power such as biomass boilers, solar panels and heat pumps.

The Department is actively supporting the NHS Sustainable Development Unit (NHS SDU), which has produced the NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy. In addition, the Department, in partnership with the Carbon Trust, is working with individual NHS organisations to identify appropriate investment strategies. The Carbon Trust along with the NHS SDU is also raising management awareness and providing implementation advice to NHS organisations.

The Department provides guidance to assist the NHS and their partners in meeting the criteria in the document Health Technical Memorandum 07-02 “Encode—making energy work in healthcare”, a copy of which has been placed in the Library. This guidance provides general energy efficiency standards within healthcare facilities and covers new build and refurbishment projects as well as the energy management of existing facilities.