Preparing Net Zero Routemaps for NHS Scotland


The 22 Health Boards in NHS Scotland are required to decarbonise their operations while maintaining their critical health care services. Working with Jacobs, Energy Systems Catapult has developed tools to help prepare Net Zero Routemaps for 12 of these 22 Health Boards, recognising that each hospital is at a different stage of development on this route. This has demonstrated that the same level of standardisation and consistency developed by the Catapult is robust and actionable by private sector consultants in a complex setting.

The Innovation

The Catapult adapted its established approach (developed for the Modern Energy Partners (MEP) Programme) to help prepare Net Zero Routemap Reports for 12 of the 22 NHS Scotland Health Boards. The methodology uses two years of learning gained by the Energy Systems Catapult through the MEP Programme – a ground-breaking collaboration across selected government departments; including the NHS.

It is a scalable and replicable method to decarbonise campus-style public sector sites. Throughout the collaborative process the Catapult has provided expertise on establishing a baseline and suitability of various carbon intervention measures so that the Routemaps are fully actionable and efficient investment can be made across NHS Scotland.

The Challenge

NHS Scotland Health Boards are required to decarbonise their operational emissions while maintaining resilient healthcare services, systems and operations which withstand unforeseen stresses (such as the COVID-19 pandemic). Their key targets on the route to Net Zero, include:

  • Emissions reduction of 75% by 2030 against a 1990 baseline.
  • Ensure all publicly owned building’s heating are decarbonised by 2038.
  • Operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to meet Net Zero targets by (or before) 2040.

Robust plans are needed by NHS Scotland to transition towards a low carbon operating environment, recognising its critical reliance on electric and heating supplies to deliver their services. Each hospital health board is at a different phase on its pathway to achieving Net Zero, dependent on upgrades that have already taken place within energy, transport, buildings and other functional operations.

The Solution

Working with Jacobs and NHS Scotland Assure and the Health Boards, Energy Systems Catapult supported the development of Net Zero Routemap Reports which include:

  • The approach and key assumptions applied.
  • Outputs of proforma tools applied in the modelling.
  • Technology and indicative financial analysis of various decarbonisation measures.
  • Pathway to decarbonisation evaluation for the main milestone dates (75% reduction (against 1990 emissions) by 2030, decarbonisation of heat by 2038 (or sooner) and Net Zero by 2040 (or sooner)).
  • Waterfall charts for technology pathways.
  • Timelines showing deployment of decarbonisation actions for technology pathway.

This has been achieved using a collaborative systematic seven-step approach: Project Kick-off with each stakeholder; Data collection; Site survey; Modelling: Presentation of Routemap Reports.


  • Provision of high-level advice to 12 of the 22 NHS Scotland Health Boards on how to decarbonise its operations while maintaining critical health care services.
  • Working with a Private Sector organisation (Jacobs) to develop its skills so that it can replicate these services in other sectors.
  • Demonstration that the tools developed by Energy Systems Catapult are robust and actionable in complex environments.

Next Steps

The Routemaps provided an overarching strategy for each individual Health Board to progress toward their Net Zero targets. The reports contain a range of recommendations for each Health Board to implement, including decarbonisation measures and wider strategic considerations to monitor and review progress and adapt plans accordingly. The Health Boards included within the scope of this work contribute approximately 60% of NHS Scotland’s operational GHG emissions. The Routemaps provide a strategic overview of how to mitigate these emissions and if fully implemented would enable the Health Boards to meet their Net Zero goals.

The Catapult is continuing to work with private sector organisations to enable them to use this methodology for developing decarbonisation Routemaps in other sectors.

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