The low hanging fruit; catalysing energy saving in hospitals
A recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance says UK businesses are implementing energy efficiency schemes at the highest rate ever. It reveals efficient lighting is the most popular installation choice, with use of lighting controls seeing significant growth.
The trends are superb news, but there is a problem. The Sustainable Development Unit, which exists to ensure the UK healthcare system fulfils its potential, says the NHS in England has seen a decrease of just 3.5% in building energy carbon footprint between 2007/08 and 2013/14. This equates to barely half a percentage point a year.
NHS progress has therefore, in real terms, been moving at a snail’s pace. This is a tragedy; UK wide NHS estates are vast, their impacts huge. With the right knowledge, quick win and low or even no cost energy saving opportunities are available in the healthcare sector today.
To pinpoint them, a precise methodology and rock solid approach to delivering change promptly and accurately is required.
The path to NHS carbon reduction
Firstly, a good energy survey, highlighting opportunities, risks and existing challenges is essential. Without a detailed survey, facilities managers may well have no idea; they are swimming in the dark.
Further, detailed appraisal of condition of plant and equipment, efficiency and operations is necessary. Recommendations to improve performance, distinguishing between low and no cost initiatives and those requiring capital outlay can then be provided. Financing can then be achieved.
Additionally, details of savings in terms of energy, emissions and costs, with an informed indication of the anticipated payback on any required investment should be given. Prioritisation of initiatives to maximise the benefits can then be achieved.
In all this, the use of an experienced, transparent and independent consultant like Concept Energy is recommended. In house staff are generally too busy or inexperienced to handle this key stage.
The common approach and the benefits to hand
Whilst all NHS Trusts vary, plainly they share characteristics; all wish to save cash and carbon, all wish to provide top notch, modern healthcare.
One hospital Concept has worked with had energy consumption of 41% above expected levels. Following our review, we found the primary cause of the excess consumption was lack of availability of energy data for monitoring and targeting purposes, limited HVAC controls and BMS settings that did not match requirements or occupancy levels.
Following Concept’s review, estimated savings of 33% were identified and recommended. The recommendations amounted to £200,000 in annual energy savings.
Savings like these can fund bigger capital upgrades; lighting, monitoring and targeting, and voltage optimisation.
Tomorrow’s sustainable NHS
The annual carbon footprint of the NHS in England is around 25 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). It’s a huge amount; trusts must establish where energy wastage is, assess the fastest ROI and low or no cost paths to savings.
For further carbon reduction advice for NHS get in touch.