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Rye Memorial Hospital achieves carbon neutrality

Rye, Winchelsea & District Memorial Hospital has become the UK’s first community hospital to achieve carbon neutrality.

The installation of its new renewable systems was followed by confirmation from its electricity supplier that all power now comes from fully renewable sources such as solar panels and wind power. This means that the hospital has reduced its carbon footprint by 100 per cent.

The project, commissioned in September 2021, has been designed and delivered by property maintenance specialists DMA Group and fully funded by the Rye, Winchelsea and District Memorial Hospital charity.

By the end of 2024, it is estimated that the overall energy consumption at Rye Memorial Hospital will have reduced by approximately 240,000 Kilowatt hours, a drop of 40 per cent from 2020 figures. The outcome is a total reduction of approximately 260 tonnes of carbon per annum, the equivalent of planting approximately 4,300 trees.

Rye Memorial Hospital has replaced gas boilers with new electric flow boilers and calorifiers and replaced the kitchen gas fired equipment, eliminating the use of gas completely. The installation of internal and external LED lighting with automatic controls means energy is not wasted by leaving lights on. It is estimated that its solar roof panels will generate more than 70,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per annum. The hospital has also installed nine Tesla Powerwall solar batteries (3 per phase of electricity) with a total storage capacity of 120 KW to capture all surplus electricity generated by the solar panels, reducing the demand for electricity from the external supply grid.

A full clean of the hospital’s heating system and the replacement of all radiator valves has ensured the heating system operates more efficiently. A Building Management System (BMS) used by the hospital’s inhouse FM team, and DMA Group ensures onsite and remote live operational monitoring of all plant and equipment, energy utilisation, building and water temperature.

Many other projects have been completed as part of the Rye Memorial Hospital’s modernisation. These include:

  • The installation of solar blinds in the nurses’ station to help reduce glare and heat to create a more comfortable working environment
  • A new air-conditioning system in the nurses’ station
  • New air-conditioning units in the communications and medicine rooms reduce the risk of equipment failure and the overheating of medicines
  • Improvements to the hospital’s cold-water systems including the installation of a chemical dosing system and cold-water booster, increasing the water pressure in the hospital and reducing the risk of bacterial infections such as legionella

Barry Nealon, Chairman at Rye, Winchelsea & District Memorial Hospital, said: “Our goal was always to become a fully functional net zero community hospital, but to have done it so quickly and as the UK’s first is beyond our expectations. We had a mission to bring medical services closer to home for the benefit of our local community. To achieve this, we needed to reimagine our existing business models and aim for sustainable growth and a collaborative and experienced service partner like DMA Group to realise those goals, if we were to do our bit in curbing emissions and limiting global warming.”

Kevin Mcguane, Energy Services Director at DMA, said: “We are confident that a return will be delivered in the short to medium term for the hospital. We have remained open and transparent with stakeholders about right design, solutions and the costings, and this proactive approach has enabled us to build a strong collaborative partnership with Rye Hospital that not only presented a route to net zero but also a sound business case.” 

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