Sustainable healthcare builds

Modular construction emits 45% less carbon than traditional methods, report finds

A study by academics has found that 28,000 tonnes of carbon were saved on two schemes in London. According to new research by academics from the University of Cambridge and Edinburgh Napier University, factory-produced homes can produce up to 45% less carbon than traditional methods of construction.

While the study was based on residential homes, it has significant implications for the healthcare construction industry. With the government promoting MMC in hospital construction, the reduction in embodied carbon that modular provides is a critical advantage to helping to create sustainable healthcare builds.

“The report said these developments achieved embodied carbon savings of 41% and 45% respectively when compared to traditional construction methods, significantly lower than RIBA-set industry targets.” – Tom Lowe, Building.

The study found that two modular housing schemes designed by HTA Design saved a combined 28,000 tonnes of carbon.

Tom Lowe explains in his recent article:

“Embodied carbon, which is emitted by the production and transport of materials during a scheme’s construction, currently accounts for around 11% of global emissions.

“In the UK, emissions from embodied carbon are between 40 and 50 million tonnes each year – more than aviation and shipping combined.”

Researchers at Cambridge and Edinburgh found that these emissions are “dramatically” lower when modular building systems are used because units are completed offsite in a controlled assembly line environment and taken to site in one delivery. It means that modular buildings require fewer carbon-intensive products like concrete and steel, and there is a reduction of movement to and from site – from materials, trades, on-site workers. In addition to this, creating hospital construction off-site also ensures for minimal disruption to a live hospital.

“The study underscores the fundamental importance of quantifying carbon in construction and across a building’s life cycle.” – Tim Forman, University of Cambridge.

To read the full article and supporting documentation, visit Building.


How do you create sustainable healthcare builds?

Health Spaces is working with Architects for Health to drive discussion, debate and change in the way that MMC is viewed in hospital and healthcare construction. If you missed our round-the-table debate last month, you can view the recording below which highlights the benefits of MMC in creating sustainable healthcare builds.


Webinar: 30th June 1pm- 1.45pm MMC & Traditional

Register for our next webinar: MMC & Traditional: Choosing the Right Model for Your Trust with Jaime Bishop, healthcare architect and co-chair of Architects for Health, Eric Fehily, Director of Estates & Facilities at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, and Chris Hodgson, Director of Estates & Facilities at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

The UK Government has been increasingly encouraging and incentivising the use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) for building projects across the public sector. But how do you choose which construction method to use for your healthcare building project? What are the advantages and disadvantages to MMC and traditional healthcare construction? And how does it affect the wider strategy for your Trust? What further support needs to come from the MMC industry to help the NHS?

These are just some of the questions that will be addressed in our round-the-table discussion this June.

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