The NHS and the wider health sector could save £414 million per year by 2020.
That’s if they cut a further one million tonnes of carbon emissions annually during the same period, according to a new report by the Sustainable Development Unit (SDU).
Its ‘Securing Healthy Returns’ research said areas such as disease prevention, waste, new models of care and staff behaviour can reduce emissions and achieve economic benefits.
It suggests initiatives such as installing combined heat and power (CHP) systems and encouraging staff to travel to work by bike or foot.
The report also highlights the efforts the sector has made towards reducing energy consumption and being more efficient.
It states the NHS has invested £540 million in eight years in technologies such as LED lighting, insulation and better energy control.
These measures helped save £1.85 billion and cut £190 million off its energy bill.
John Holden, Director of Policy Partnership & Innovation at NHS England said: “The evidence presented here shows that we don’t always have to choose between saving financial resources or protecting the environment – indeed, the most effective investments can often save money, improve health now and safeguard the environment on which all future health depends. What’s good for the environment and good for the patient’s health can be good for the nation’s finances too.”