Scaling Charing Cross Hospital’s tower block for latest decarbonisation project

Charing Cross Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, overcame a significant hurdle in its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint last weekend with the assistance of a giant 450 tonne mobile crane. Securing the rare crane, which is one of only four of its type in the country, was essential for lifting a packaged plantroom with two water source heat pumps to the roof of the hospital's 68 metre tower block. 

The heat pumps will meet the majority of the heating and hot water requirements of the tower block. The installation is part of the hospital’s innovative heat pump scheme (four air source heat pumps have already been installed on site), which will significantly reduce the hospital’s carbon emissions and improve local air quality. 

This feeds into the Trust’s Green Plan, especially its goals of cleaner air through reduced carbon emissions associated with heating and hot water. Imperial College Healthcare started its carbon reduction journey back in 2009-10. The Trust has since invested £10.4 million in 35 energy efficiency projects to help reduce its carbon emissions by 19,135 tonnes per annum – and so far achieved a 24.7 per cent reduction compared to its 2007-08 baseline.

The plantroom is the latest major measure being introduced by the Trust, under £26.9 million decarbonisation fund secured through the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, alongside implementing range of improved energy efficiency measures at both Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals. This includes lighting, pumping, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, alongside better energy controls. 

Crane lift

Thanks to close working with Hammersmith & Fulham Council and colleagues across the hospital, as well as the understanding of local residents and patients, the plantroom was lifted successfully. The plantroom was fabricated off site in order to reduce construction time on site and minimise any disruption to the local community.

The Trust is looking to embrace low carbon technology and equipment wherever possible. Just a few weeks ago the Trust used an all-electric mobile tower crane for the first time, in what is thought to be the first lift of its type in the UK, also as part of the decarbonisation programme.

Shane King, head of estates operations at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Climate change has real implications for the health and wellbeing of our staff, patients and local people. We are one of the largest NHS Trusts and have an important role to play in reducing emissions and delivering sustainable healthcare for our community.

“This project is another step in this journey, alongside lots of wider ongoing work. It was a significant logistical challenge to install the heat pumps at the top of the hospital tower and I'm grateful to the many people and teams involved in making this a reality, including Hammersmith & Fulham Council, Breathe Energy and City Lifting. A big thank you also to colleagues, local residents and patients for being understanding of this essential work.

“We have an ambitious Green Plan, which we launched last year, and will continue to work closely with patients, colleagues, local communities and partners to put our organisation on a path to a cleaner, greener, healthier and more equitable future.”

Find out more about the Green Plan: