The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (RJAH) have installed 1,760 solar panels in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint and save vital funds.

Along with installation of new energy efficient lighting RJAH estimate they will save £217,00 annually (a third of their electricity bills), as well as reducing their carbon emissions by more than 800 tons a year. A huge step towards the net zero carbon future that the trust and Shropshire as a wider area are aiming for.

The installation was supported by Salix Finance, who provide Government funding for energy efficiency projects to the public sector. Thanks to Salix, £1.2 million was unlocked to fund the project.

Nick Huband, Director of Estates and Facilities said: “We couldn’t have done this without Salix as it is so difficult to get capital funding via the NHS. We’ve put ourselves forward for things like European funding and been unsuccessful and similarly with NHS funding so without the support of Salix this work wouldn’t have happened.

Salix Programme Manager, Sameen Khan added: “More than ever before, we want to support our NHS services and the patient and staff environment at the hospitals across the country. The Salix funding can help decrease operational costs which can be re-allocated for patient care.”

Salix has helped fund over £1 billion in public sector green projects, with an estimated reduction in carbon emissions of almost 870,000 tonnes.

What Next for RJAH

Sustainability is a key area of focus at RJAH. Additional solar panels, and more electric car charging points are hoped for the future, alongside planting of trees to help offset emissions.

“It’s massively important for us to be more sustainable and efficient.

“The target is to get to net zero but it’s not an insurmountable task – it’s a big ask. It is doable but there is significant capital investment required and a different way of thinking more importantly as well.

“Solar panels are really important to this strategy. Not just the financial return but also the offset against the carbon tonnage is huge.

“All the external lighting has been replaced with energy efficient LED lighting, along with all the internal lighting in the wards and the theatres.

“There has been a big fall in energy usage. We’re expecting a £200,000 year reduction in costs on our energy costs – it’s a significant saving.

“We’re looking at some more radical ideas like solar panels on the roof of the car park. The drive to reduce emissions is really well supported here – there is a lot of buy-in from our executives which helps with schemes like this.

“It’s not just about LED lighting and solar panels. We have some green sites which, due to a number of restrictions, we can’t build on or sell so we’re looking at ways to offset our carbon by planting trees.

“We can then create walk routes through so patients and visitors can enjoy it while we try to achieve zero carbon.”

– Nick Huband – Director of Estates and Facilities, RJAH

Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot