Retrofitting Strategies for Hospitals with Simon Bourke

In this episode of Building sustainably: the road to net zero, host Chris Lavery is joined by Simon Bourke, Building Services UK and Healthcare Lead at RPS. They discuss the challenges of retrofitting an existing hospital, and how to balance operational disruption with carbon reduction.

In this episode: retrofitting strategies for hospitals

Can net zero carbon be achieved in ageing building stock with constant, and high energy usage? 

Part of the NHS task force that developed the concept of a very low-energy healthcare centre, Simon Bourke joins Chris to explore how carbon reduction can be achieved in a live hospital environment, and discusses the very real challenge of generating the large amount of on-site renewable energy required.

Simon Bourke insights image.png

“One of the easiest ways to reduce carbon emissions is to move from using gas as a source of energy for heating water, which is also used for the sanitary and hygiene requirements of the building users.” Simon Bourke, Building Services Lead UK and Healthcare Lead at RPS

Meet Simon Bourke

Simon’s a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the IET (The Institution of Engineering and Technology), CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers), and IHEEM (The Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management).

He’s worked on a wide range of healthcare projects, not just in the UK but worldwide, across India, China, and Tanzania. He was also part of the NHS task force that developed the concept of a very low-energy healthcare centre that used modern methods of construction and Passivhaus principles.

His sector experience ranges across advanced manufacturing, education, residential, commercial, and healthcare. Leading the Building Services teams across the Birmingham, London, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle offices, Simon has a real passion for sustainable design, with a key focus on achieving Net Zero Carbon on all projects and proposals he’s involved in. 

Key highlights

  • 0:15 - 1:15 - Retrofitting an Existing Building Stock - One of the articles Simon has written for RPS discusses the challenge of retrofitting from an existing building stock to achieve net zero carbon. It requires holistic and strategic thinking and significant investment and time to implement.
  • 1:21 - 3:39 - Retrofitting a Hospital to Get to Net Zero Carbon - Simon did an exercise for NHS Improvement, which showed that even with exemplary design principles, it is difficult to get a newly designed building to net zero carbon. Hospitals are large users of energy, so to get to net zero carbon, they need to generate a large amount of on-site renewable energy, which is very difficult to achieve as you need a lot of physical space. 
  • 3:39 - 6:43 - Retrofitting Challenges for Hospitals - One of the easiest ways to reduce carbon emissions is to move away from using gas for heating water. In the case of a hospital, generating heat and hot water from electricity could double the maximum electrical demand and electrical supply intake requirements for that building. This would require large-scale, costly, and time-consuming electrical supply upgrades. There's a capital cost challenge, but there's also a long-term operational cost challenge.
  • 13:15 - 14:27 - Balancing Net Zero Carbon Target With Investment Shortfall - Simon states that if a newly designed building can't achieve net zero carbon without employing external measures of setting or importing green energy, then a hospital or other type of building has an even greater challenge. So for existing buildings, the government should set challenging but achievable targets for carbon reduction and allow other measures to be used to balance the visual carbon.

Did you enjoy this episode?

We'd love to hear your thoughts - why not rate/review us on Apple and Spotify? And don't forget to follow/subscribe to be the first to hear when a new episode releases, or explore all of our current episodes below.

Podcast CTA insight page.png

Get in touch

Your contact information:

All fields are mandatory *

Get in touch

Your contact information:

All fields are mandatory *