The healthcare infrastructure specialist
21 March 2023

NHS Net Zero Carbon Building Standard Published

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The world’s first healthcare specific Net Zero Carbon Building Standard has been published by NHS England. To develop the document, NHS England drew on the expertise of Archus, our partners and the wider NHS and NHS supply chain.

The ground-breaking document creates clarity on scope, methodology and approach regarding net zero carbon for NHS construction projects. It will be applicable to any new build or refurbishment building project subject to HM Treasury business case approval process. The expectation of the processes required within the Standard will push the industry to collect energy and carbon performance data across the whole lifecycle of a project and use this to inform decision making going forward. By standardising requirements across both embodied carbon and operational energy, it will help close the gap often seen in the ambition and performance of new healthcare infrastructure schemes across the country, which is currently governed by local planning requirements and results in significant variation in specification and building performance.

Our work on the Net Zero Carbon standard is part of our appointment to a multi-year programme to update a number of Health Building Notes (HBNs) and Health Technical Memoranda (HTMs). These documents give “best practice” guidance on the design and planning of new healthcare buildings or adapting existing facilities.

Chris Turner, Director of Technical Advisory services and Archus Project Lead for the Technical Guidance Programme commented:

“The Standard is a critical part of the broader NHS strategy for achieving a net zero estate by 2040. Its detail sets out ambitious performance targets for buildings in the short term, as well as a future trajectory to reach net zero carbon. Crucially, it balances significant ambition with a pragmatic approach. Nearly 50 different organisations were consulted as part of its development, including professional bodies, to ensure performance requirements have been considered alongside technical feasibility and cost of delivery.”

To develop the document, Archus worked closely with partners Mott MacDonald and sustainability consultancy Square Gain, alongside the wider NHS and it's supply chain partners.

Rebecca Stubbs, Principal Net Zero Carbon Advisor, Mott MacDonald said:

“It’s a delight to have the Standard launched and within the public domain, after such significant efforts by all those involved to develop it along with the other supporting documents and implementation tools. Project teams have been desperate for clarification of NHS’ expectations for net zero carbon performance of new projects, and this now sets a consistent Standard for us all to be working to. I’m looking forward to the more informed, data driven conversations that it will encourage. We are grateful to everyone across the industry who has collaborated with us on this project so far and we look forward to continuing extensive feedback discussions throughout its rollout.”

Greg Chant-Hall, Director at Square Gain added

The Committee on Climate Change highlighted to UK Government in June that more progress is needed on combatting climate change, and it’s great to see the NHS on the front-foot. The climate emergency is also a heath emergency and the Net Zero Carbon Building Standard helps everyone involved in building and operating healthcare facilities to understand what is required to meet the aims of Net Zero by 2040. Training will also be available to assist NHS Trusts and project teams to translate the requirements for their own specific projects.”

Project lead

Chris Turner


Net Zero Carbon

Relevant pages

Technical advisory