Analysis of net-zero pathways for a hospital and a university campus

Alexandre Canet, Muditha Abeysekera and Jianzhong Wu

30 March 2022

The 2050 net-zero target set by the UK government will require changes at different levels of the energy system including single dwellings, commercial buildings and campuses, cities and the national energy supply infrastructure. The public sector has committed to a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2037 compared to 1990 levels and net-zero by 2050. In this research, different pathways to decarbonise energy provision at a hospital and a university campus in the UK by 2050 were analysed considering the technical, economic and GHG emission implications.

The insights gained from this work will be useful to policy makers and facility managers who are considering how best to meet GHG reduction targets. From a net-zero perspective, this briefing paper shows that decarbonising heat with heat pumps in the short/medium term and decarbonising electricity with on-site distributed energy resources (DER) in the long-term is more expensive but emits significantly less GHG. The challenges surrounding the use of natural gas CHP generators and the impacts on the electricity grid import capacity of the electrification of heat are also highlighted.