Environment and sustainability

We aim to be a leading NHS trust and advocate for this important agenda. To achieve this we are committed to working with local partners for broader changes that promote sustainability and improve the wellbeing of the communities we serve; including the commitment to making Exeter a carbon-neutral city by 2030.
Healthcare provision is incredibly resource intensive and it is likely that this will always remain the case, due to the reliance on equipment, drugs, chemicals, energy, water, state-of-the-art facilities and the immense supply chains that provide all of these things. However, we have an obligation to minimise our impact, so that future generations can also enjoy the advances made by science and the NHS.

The RD&E has published a Sustainable Development Management Plan, which sets out how the Trust will approach its role as a sustainable healthcare provider, making sure that the environment and wider society are considered in everything it does, along with direct patient impact and financial costs. The plan is the Trust’s commitment to our patients, staff and communities to meet that obligation.

Sustainable innovation

The RD&E holds a regular Sustainability Meeting, chaired by the Senior Financial Officer. The group sees a range of departments working together to exchange ideas and move the sustainability agenda forward. Some recent examples include the Green Team Awards and our very own Green Dragons' Den.

Current utility usage

Current utilities consumption (2019-20) excluding community sites.



This figure includes all grid electricity, including PV cells and gas CHP generated. Average UK home usage is 4,200 kWh, so the RD&E is using the same as 5,100 homes.



Average UK domestic gas consumption is 12,000kwh, so the RD&E is using the same as 4,770 houses.



An average UK house uses 127m3 per year, so the RD&E is using the same as 1,730 houses.



How we are working to improve our environment

The RD&E has partnered with Centrica Business Solutions (CBS) to deliver a range of technical improvements across the estate.

These are aimed at reducing the RD&E’s demand for finite natural resources; the Trust has a target to reduce carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions from energy, waste and water by 28% from a 2013 baseline.

The overall project

Will result in a reduction in CO2e emissions of:

  • 2,200 tonnes per year and annual savings of £800k that can be redirected to services supporting patient care.


  • 955 tonnes CO2e per year reduction.
  • This saving is equivalent to circa 1,000 average houses being removed from the electricity grid.
  • There are a variety of light fittings across the RD&E estate, the majority are Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs). 13,000 are being replaced, the new fittings have an average energy reduction of 69% compared to the current versions.
  • Saving around £300k per year.

Air Conditioning (AC) unit occupancy, window and door sensors

  • 136 tonnes of CO2e emissions per year.
  • Over 100 controls are being installed on suitable AC units that will only allow the units to operate when the room is occupied and if doors and windows to the room are closed. This will prevent unnecessary energy usage.
  • Saving around £40k per year.

Solar PV

  • 99 tonnes of CO2e emissions per year reduction.
  • The RD&E already has arrays on RILD and the Aseptic Building, and new PV arrays on the roofs at Wonford, Heavitree and Marden House.
  • Saving around £30k per year.

Water savings

  • Automatic, touch free taps and low flush toilet flushes are being installed.
  • It is anticipated that this will save around £100k per year by reducing the time that taps are left on.
  • It has the additional benefit of improving infection control protection.

New Combined heat and power plant

  • Significant engineering works are under way to install a replacement 1.5MW CHP engine, which will deliver savings of around £80k per year more than the current plant, and reconfiguring the existing 1MW plant to provide heat to the Laundry.
  • If the reconfiguration is successful this scheme could be worth around £1m per year to the Trust.

Contact details

Luke Mitchell
Energy and Sustainability Manager




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