The Biggest & Best Portal to the Professional Property, Workplace and Built Environment Community

Tuesday, 11 December

You Have To Know What You Do To Change What You Do

Jan Ponsford

Before you can reduce energy consumption you have to know what energy is being used, what is being wasted and where the savings are most easily made writes Jan Ponsford.

A government greenhouse gas emissions survey of the public estate in 2010, found many of the country's hospitals were amongst the worst offenders.

Things have improved since then, but there is still a lot that can be done.

Before you can reduce energy consumption you have to know what energy is being used, what is being wasted and where the savings are most easily made, by undertaking detailed evaluations across an entire estate.

Big projects like a large photo-voltaic array or a waste to energy project attract a lot of interest but it is tough for facilities managers to sell the idea that many small changes can deliver significant, guaranteed savings.

To reduce energy consumption, energy spend and carbon emissions, it is important to consider the small steps possible to improve the energy efficiency of existing, often old buildings.

 

Comprehensive evaluation is key

The evaluation of an estate needs to be detailed, consider every aspect of the energy efficiency equation and call on every source of information from half-hourly electricity bills to waste management policies. 

To establish a baseline, any evaluation also has to consider the facility’s energy spend and carbon emissions from, mechanical and electrical activities, buildings, infrastructure, land, waste, transport and workforce.

 

A good evaluation will typically focus on three distinct areas:

Power usage - consider metering and sub-metering, typically by department in healthcare facilities, where there can be a huge disparity in usage. Monitoring and benchmarking performance, comparing the in-use performance of a building to its historical energy use or that of similar healthcare facilities is crucial.

Initiatives – looking at heat recovery, use of renewables if relevant, including energy from waste, lighting systems, electrical equipment, voltage optimisation and improvements to the fabric of the building and surrounding environs.

Operational – the survey should consider the energy use awareness of the staff, the lifecycle maintenance, waste reduction strategies, procurement services, transport and ultimately the culture of the organisation – is there a shared desire to cut consumption?

 

Policies

Once it has been established who in the organisation has the day-to-day responsibility for energy consumption, purchasing and wastage, along with operational activities, the assessment can look in detail at the policies in place and the base line information needed to make recommendations.

 

Baseline information and knowledge transfer

The required information starts with the buildings, their age, construction and condition, their occupancy profile and the plans to re-develop if appropriate.

An important step of the evaluation is a thorough inspection of the building fabric and its thermal properties, along with roofs, windows, doors, flooring etc.

If no asset register is available for the mechanical and electrical systems, a thorough review of heating, ventilation, cooling and lighting systems will be needed.

The temperature and humidity set points in different locations across the estate will be critical to the overall consumption picture and will help highlight potential changes.

 

Annual savings

The problem for many hospital management teams and their facilities managers is the investment required to make the necessary changes against the estimated pay-back time.

Even a typical small Trust estate is capable of reducing energy consumption by as much 18%, with a reduction in energy spend as high as 24%.

A comprehensive evaluation combined with a committed implementation plan using the right specialist contractors ensures it is possible to achieve guaranteed savings and payback periods of under five years.

This not only cuts consumption and reduces carbon emissions but saves millions of pounds over the period. 

 

Finding the funding

How energy efficiency programmes are funded is the real stumbling block for NHS Energy Managers and Facilities Managers.

Funding options are assessed on a project specific basis, considering building type, usage, location, Trust requirements and preferences. The energy saving measures being considered will also impact the potential funding solutions.

The options usually fall into a number of categories, with the simplest perhaps the Trust capital funding the improvements. Borrowing directly from the Green Investment Bank or SALIX, which offers interest and fee free loans, are popular choices, with energy-cost savings used to pay the loan.

Salix requires NHS programmes to payback within five years and less than £120 per tonne of CO2 over the lifetime of the project. Salix funding covers over 100 energy efficient technologies including boilers, combined heat and power, LED and lighting upgrades, and heat recovery.

 

Other arrangements

Third-parties can also be involved, including ‘off-balance sheet’ options like an Energy Services Company (ESCo) agreement, a Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) arrangement, a Special Purchase Vehicles or Programme Partnership Arrangements.

For Trust managers it is all about building the Business Case for the whole project, considering:

  • Procurement and Application process with indicative timescales.

  • Compliant initiatives.

  • Levels of funding (initiatives attract differing levels of funding).

  • Risks.

  • Interest levels.

  • Payback periods.

  • Any restrictions on using different types of financing together.

  • Potential contractual or legal issues.

  • Any significant dates such as when a particular fund closes.

Experience dictates the best option is the one that offers the least risk for all stakeholders, delivers the best value, whilst meeting the Trusts’ needs and satisfy legal and statutory requirements.

 

Implementation follows evaluation

Starting with the evaluation and the baseline information, the process to implementation of the various simple changes will typically take 6-9 months.

Once the business case has been made, a tender process will follow to select the contractors experienced in delivering similar projects and guaranteeing the predicted savings and payback period.

Ideally, the project will be managed by the consultants that initially undertook the evaluation, as they will understand the organisation’s objectives, economic drivers, operational structure, existing knowledge and experience – all beneficial to the successful delivery of the project.

 

Endless

Energy efficiency projects within the healthcare sector, rarely have an end point as a lot of monitoring and verification is required to ensure targets are hit. In the fight to cut energy consumption, continual improvement through new and more affordable technologies is crucial.

Jan Ponsford, is a director at Virtus Consult, specialists in energy reduction strategies for the public sector.

Article written by Jan Ponsford

Share



Related Articles

Splash To Save Cash - Swimming Pool Heated By Waste Water

A swimming pool is at the forefront of a renewable energy investment that creates heat from waste water to save on bills. In the first project to be delivered by a new...

 Read Full Article
Do They Know It's Christmas? - Workers To Strike To Make Christmas A Rubbish Affair

Cheshire businesses face a Christmas rubbish headache as Veolia workers plan to strike over what they are claiming is unpaid shifts. A series of strikes are planned to...

 Read Full Article
Bono And The Edge Named In Estates Management Fraud

Three estates managers have been jailed for an  £822,000 NHS fraud - the ring-leader used the real names from members of U2 as his criminal alter egos. And...

 Read Full Article
Energy - Spending To Accumulate

More than half of global organisations plan to increase energy efficiency spending in the next 12 months according to the Johnson Controls' 2018 Energy Efficiency...

 Read Full Article
ISS Healthcare On A TFM High And Waverley Says Hello To Mitie Mouse

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust has appointed ISS for a comprehensive FM contract that takes in estates maintenance, cleaning, catering for service users and...

 Read Full Article
NHS Violence - Zero Tolerance And Offenders Punished Quickly

On October 31, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock launched the first ever NHS violence reduction strategy. The new, zero-tolerance approach...

 Read Full Article
The Budget 2018 - 24 Things You Need To Know

The Chancellor has presented his Budget to Parliament – here's a summary of what was announced...but we've tried to put it in order of relevance to the FM...

 Read Full Article
Trust Puts Trust In ISS For First Commercial Contract

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust has appointed ISS Healthcare to provide retail and patient catering. This is the Trust's first commercial...

 Read Full Article
Chelsea Score Long-term Deal

JCA Engineering has secured a five-year maintenance contract to deliver hard FM services to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Following a competitive tender...

 Read Full Article
Black Market Plastic Bags On Sale Outside Supermarkets

Aspiring entrepreneurs are taking to selling plastic carrier bags outside of supermarkets and convenience stores, undercutting the 5p price in-store and reaping the...

 Read Full Article