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Will a New Hospital in Leeds Enhance Sustainability in the City

4 min

As healthcare services across the UK pledge to become net-zero, Quadrant Health looks at how a new hospital in Leeds will spark sustainability goals for the city.

Two new hospitals are set to be built in Leeds as part of its Hospitals of the Future Project. The new state-of-the-art hospitals will incorporate Leeds Children’s Hospital and an adults’ hospital at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI), which will be built on parts of the old LGI site that are currently being demolished.

It forms part of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s ambition to meet new standards for greener and more sustainable hospitals in the UK.

Set to be fully operational by 2027, the Trust’s original design briefing for the new hospitals featured issues surrounding sustainability and environmental impact.

Energy, carbon emissions and the use of sustainable construction methods and materials are considered as areas of particular significance to the Trust.

The transformation hopes to provide 3,000 jobs and deliver up to £11.2 billion net present value

Simon Worthington, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Director of Finance and Senior Responsible Officer for the Building the Leeds Way Programme, told Quadrant Health: “It is the Trust’s goal to become one of the greenest NHS Trusts in the UK and we’ve made great strides in the last few years towards making that happen in our current operations.

But the building of the new hospitals, and the redevelopment of large parts of the old LGI site, will be the biggest development in the city centre in a generation.

He continued: “We knew from the outset that it is vital that the new hospitals should be designed and constructed to a rigorous set of requirements, to ensure the construction of environmentally responsible buildings, not just for today but for the next 60 years and beyond.”

Onsite solar energy harvesting and passive design & energy re-capture are just some of the hospital’s considered features

The New Hospitals for Leeds project is one of 40 new hospitals the Government has committed to building, by 2030.

Speaking about sustainable design methods, Simon Worthington explained: “We made it plain that we wanted to see an integrated approach from our designers that provides world-class patient facilities that minimise waste; minimise energy use by using renewable energy sources, construction materials and methods; and strives to support the Trust in delivering its ambition towards achieving net-zero carbon.

“We’re pleased and impressed with the outline proposals put forward by our architects Perkins & Will and our other design team members including WSP who are the design lead for sustainability and net-zero carbon.”

The ecological facilities in the new hospitals for Leeds will benefit not just patients in the city, but also those from across the Yorkshire and Humber regions, and in some cases even further afield.

Leeds currently produces 3,106,847 tonnes of CO2 per year, but these new buildings hope to reduce that

Other sustainability measures being considered as part of the design proposals for the two new hospitals for Leeds include natural ventilation; sophisticated energy management systems that maximise energy efficiency and minimise waste; rainwater collection and bio-filtration; and maximising the capture and use of natural light.

Mike Bacon, Building the Leeds Way Programme Director, said: “Close collaboration between the BtLW Programme Team and our designers will support the ambition to deliver truly sustainable, long-life buildings that will be fully adaptable to the changing nature of healthcare.

Having a patient-centred approach has also led to the design of a building with plenty of natural light whilst the whole-life carbon impact of the building will be minimised through the careful selection of materials. Heat will be preserved through high levels of insulation and the provision of window areas that efficiently balance the penetration of daylight and heat loss.

He added: “Sustainability is not just important to us in the design and build phases of the new hospitals, it has also played an important role in the demolition of those parts of the Leeds General Infirmary site that are being cleared to make way for the two new hospitals.

“Working with DSM Demolition, we plan to recycle between 95% to 99% of the old buildings, with current recycle rates running at approximately 97%, with brickwork crushed and used for hardcore in the construction industry, and metals recovered from the site being weighed in and melted down for reuse.”

The concept design now needs to be developed further through a robust design development process involving a range of stakeholder inputs, including staff, patients, and partners.