Giant Crane Lifts New Heat Pumps onto Charing Cross Roof

Part of Green Plan to cut hospital's emissions and improve local air quality

The unit being lifted into place
The unit being lifted into place


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August 25, 2023

A gigantic crane, one of only four in the country capable of carrying up to 450 tonnes, has been used to lift two new water source heat pumps onto the roof of Charing Cross Hospital’s 68-metre-high tower block.

These new heat pumps, contained within a pre-built plantroom, now provide most of the heating and hot water within the hospital’s 15 storey tower block. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust says the new pumps, along with four air source heat pumps which have already been installed, will also significantly reduce the hospital’s carbon emissions and improve local air quality around Fulham Palace Road.

The Trust says the heat pumps are part of its Green Plan, which is underway at Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospital in Shepherd’s Bush. It claims the plan, which has received £26.9 million from the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, has already reduced its carbon emissions by 13% over the last three years.

The plan includes a range of improved energy efficiency measures at both hospitals, including lighting, pumping, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, alongside better energy controls.

Another innovation is a recent large-scale trial carried out across the Trust’s hospitals using new canisters capturing anaesthetic gases exhaled by patients during operations. These are normally released through pipes into the atmosphere from the hospital roof, but these new canisters capture most of these gases, which can then be purified and reused.

Charing Cross staff with the canisters to be used
Charing Cross staff with the canisters to be used

If the trial is judged a success, it could be rolled out to all the Trust’s 90 anaesthetic machines. As anaesthetic gases make up five per cent of the overall NHS’ carbon footprint, this could be another significant move.

The Green Plan’s environmental innovations have led to the Trust being shortlisted in the Towards Net Zero category in this year’s Health Service Journal Awards which will take place on 16 November.

The crane lifting up the heat pump unit
The crane lifting up the heat pump unit

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.”

You can read more about the Trust's Green Plan here.

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