The UK’s healthcare sector spends more than £400 million per year on energy. Unfortunately, a significant proportion of this is wasted, meaning that money is being wasted too. Implementing a few simple techniques can help to reduce the amount of energy consumed in a hospital, which releases important funds for use elsewhere. Furthermore:
- Energy efficient buildings provide better indoor conditions for patients and staff
- Taking control of energy usage will enable a hospital to achieve mandatory Government targets
- Energy efficiency campaigns can go beyond departmental boundaries, improving general morale
- Hospitals can publicise their energy efficiency achievements, generating a positive image to stakeholders and the local community
The environment will benefit from reductions in carbon emissions and energy use, which helps to preserve fossil fuels and minimise climate change. A significant number of healthcare units are already feeling the value of these benefits.
Energy management within hospitals
Achieving energy and carbon savings in hospitals requires strong leadership from the front ideally by the chief executive and an ‘energy champion’ at board level. Demonstrate commitment through:
- Publicly endorsing the organisation’s energy policy
- Empowering staff to take action
- Encouraging a willingness to explore energy saving opportunities.
Strong commitment from the top underpins all energy saving initiatives undertaken throughout the hospital.
Energy consumption in hospitals is growing steadily. Electricity already accounts for over 50% of a hospital’s energy costs and with the increased use of specialist medical equipment that generally relies on electricity, consumption is set to increase.
There are still many opportunities to achieve energy and cost savings just by implementing a few basic measures. The chart on details where the biggest savings can be made: in heating, hot water, lighting, ventilation and the effective use of electrical equipment.
In each of the key consumption areas identified in the chart below there are three main opportunities to save energy.
Switching off – all energy-consuming equipment should be switched off when not required. This can be done manually by staff or automatically with special devices.
Maintenance – a number of energy efficiency measures can be carried out as part of routine maintenance procedures at no extra cost.
Refurbishment – energy saving measures takenwhen planning major refurbishment can be extremely cost-effective.