NHS Taking Great Strides to Cut Its Carbon Footprint; Better Insulation, Lighting and Heating Are Set to Slash CO2 Emissions by 13,400 Tonnes

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Byline: Madeleine Brindley

ALOW-carbon strategy will be drawn up in a bid to make NHS Wales more environmentally friendly.

An exercise is also under way to assess the size of the NHS' carbon footprint as part of the development of the strategy.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said the work will identify NHS Wales' main sources of carbon emissions and highlight the areas where performance can be improved and reduce the overall carbon footprint.

Announcing the move, Mrs Hart said NHS in Wales has already taken significant action to reduce waste and limit its impact on the environment.

The measures introduced include new guidelines which state all new hospitals must be designed to meet strict environmental performance standards.

For example Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda, in Llwynypia; Ysbyty Alltwen, in Tremadog and Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan, in Ebbw Vale, all incorporate biomass boiler heating systems into their designs.

Existing hospitals, including the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff, and the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Llantrisant, are introducing new combined heat and power systems.

Other measures include a pounds 3m Assembly Government fund, which has supported 149 schemes in the past three years, including the installation of low energy external LED lighting; highly efficient condensing boilers; improved insulation; improved internal lighting controls and movement sensors.

It is estimated that these measures will save 13,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the three-year lifetime of the fund.

Work has been carried out across the Welsh health estate to reduce gas and electricity consumption. Figures show consumption fell by 4% in 2008-09 over the previous year and is now 17% lower than in 1999-2000.

Water usage has also fallen by more than 7% in 2008-09 in terms of overall consumption with a corresponding improvement of 7% in the measure of how efficiently water is used. …