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Kirti Rudra: Achieving efficient decarbonisation solutions for the NHS

During the past 18 months or so, responding to the climate crisis in the health sector has become another important challenge to try and balance. Last year Sir Simon Stevens published the ‘Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service report, aiming to achieve a net-zero NHS by 2040.

Kirti Rudra, Energy and Carbon Solutions Director, at ENGIE, spoke to NHE about some of the processes involved in developing decarbonisation solutions for NHS estates, the biggest challenges moving forward, and the main discussion points ahead of the NHE365 event on 25 Aug. She will be sharing her insight on panel 1 of the NHS Estates Leaders Debate.

The main areas Ms Rudra will discuss are:

  • What are the current challenges in delivering the NHS net zero emissions target for 2040 and what support is needed to help NHS trusts and hospitals achieve this target?
  • How much support and resourcing do hospitals have to support carbon targets?
  • How effective stakeholder engagement can be deployed to support this target and what capacity do trusts have to deliver this engagement?   

Ms Rudra has been in her role at ENGIE for 14 months and has worked in the energy industry for almost 15 years. Part of her role is to help clients across public and private sectors achieve their net zero ambitions, through the provision of energy and carbon consultancy solutions and compliance services.

“At ENGIE we can help the NHS at every stage of its net zero journey – from initial consultancy through to planning, funding, delivery and on into monitoring and continuous improvement.” 

An important aspect when delivering our solutions, is to maintain continuity of service and resilience, ensuring that they don’t impact the hospital site or patients” she says.

“With any carbon reduction project we deliver, we must ensure minimal disruption to patient services and ensure the hospital environment remains fully functional 24 hours a day. This requires careful planning and working in partnership with multiple hospital teams.  

Our approach is very much collaborative with the clients that we're working with. So, we co-develop solutions that work for the client.  We have a discussion with the key stakeholders around what their strategic goals are; where they want to get to in terms of the overarching net zero objectives; and then taking that into account we would develop a tailored net zero roadmap outlining the carbon reduction opportunities available.”

“This involves assessing an organisations’ scopes, one, two, and three emissions, and providing a tailored plan detailing the activities that can be put in place to achieve net zero. We work with organisations to implement the projects they want to progress with, and we continually measure and verify progress against targets set. Solutions can range from energy efficiency projects to converting their assets through heat, and decarbonisation strategies.”

She explained how part of her focus is to look at how organisations are supported to achieve their decarbonisation plans, as well as how much capacity is available within the organisation to deliver the stakeholder engagement to support this.

“It’s important to look at how much support and resourcing there is within the hospital environment to deliver carbon reduction targets. And if it is limited, which I imagine it will be because Covid is still with us. Then it's trying to identify, how can organisations like ENGIE support you in getting there and meeting your targets alongside other conflicting demands.

“Thereafter, it's understanding how organisations interact with their own stakeholder network. So, their supply chain, and all the other interfaces that they have with external organisations. This can unlock some further carbon reduction opportunities.

Ms Rudra said that some of the biggest challenges for delivering energy solutions for hospitals included capacity, resourcing to deliver the change, and investment.

“There is a lot of public money that's become available through government grants. However, it's required to be spent in a short space of time and assumes that you have everything ready to go when you need that money. So there’s the actual financing involved and there’s also the lack of in-house skills and resources to deliver the many specialist assessments and services that are essential to any net zero programme.”

You can join Kirti Rudra and many other healthcare professionals at NHE365’s NHS Net-Zero event on 25 August. You can register for the event here.

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