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Health Business hears from Brendan Rouse on how Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children made great progress in reducing its energy demand and becoming more sustainable last year.
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH) was recognised for its achievements by winning Energy Management awards at the NHS Sustainability Awards and the Camden Business Awards last year. The headline figures for the 2014/15 year were a 14 per cent weather‑corrected reduction in total energy demand compared to 2013/14 and a 13 per cent reduction in its Scope 1 & 2 emissions.
Great Ormond Street Hospital has invested heavily in becoming more energy efficient in the past few years. The largest investment came in the form of a new Energy Centre which became operational in 2013 and incorporated a Combined Cooling, Heat and Power (CCHP) engine which is backed up by three efficient boilers and is connected to two absorption chillers.
This new Energy Centre provides energy to half of the trust’s estate with an older boiler set providing for the other half. The trust is installing a second CCHP this year and creating a site‑wide district heating circuit in 2017.
Such a massive change to our energy strategy took time to run correctly and effectively, but by working closely with our CCHP maintenance contractor and by constantly reviewing the control strategy we managed to make the Energy Centre run efficiently throughout 2014/15 and the benefits have been substantial. Our electrical output from the engine has improved by over 15 per cent and we have utilised over 100 per cent more heat output compared to 2013/14. We have estimated the annual financial savings to the trust to now be around £500,000. The improved controls have seen 35 per cent less gas burned by the boilers.
For other capital projects we explored Energy Performance Contracts and undertook a full Investment Grade Audit (IGA) with an Energy Saving Company (ESCo) following an OJEU procurement exercise. Following the IGA the ESCo decided that there weren’t sufficient savings opportunities to proceed with an Energy Performance Contract. However, the process was still extremely valuable as the detailed audit helped us identify the best projects to take forward based on real business cases. This enabled the trust to proceed with a number of energy saving projects which are now managed in-house. These include installation of LED lights, solar film, improved sub-metering, a sophisticated solar panel system and a behaviour change campaign.
Involving the hospital community
The programme of energy saving activity for last year started on NHS Sustainability Day 2014 with a very successful poster and screensaver campaign. We had a series of five sustainable behaviour pledges from five of our most senior members of staff. They were displayed via posters and screensavers across the trust. The campaign was very well received and we saw an immediate eight per cent reduction in electricity consumption the following month.
This was followed up with the launch of our Carbon Culture online community platform, displaying our building level electricity consumption on a public website. We have also placed a widget on the trust’s website which gives a site‑wide view of our daily electricity consumption and its cost as well as the associated carbon footprint. Our Carbon Culture platform captures sustainability activity and stories that are going on across the hospital. This tool is designed to help the GOSH community share experiences with each other and with the wider Carbon Culture community, identifying practical ways to use resources more efficiently.
The Carbon Culture platform also supports our on-going behaviour change campaign. We have appointed Global Action Plan, the team behind the hugely successful Operation TLC campaign at Bart’s Health NHS Trust to run a version of this campaign which is suitable for a children’s hospital environment.
Improving sustainable development
The energy saving projects for 2014 at GOSH addressed each of the three pillars of sustainable development; our society, our finances and our environment.
We have delivered cost savings of over £300,000 compared to the previous year on our utility bills. We have reduced our impact on the environment, local air quality and the problematic London micro-climate by cutting our overall energy consumption and carbon footprint by 14 per cent, significantly reducing the heat rejection from our CCHP system and running our boilers less frequently.
Our behaviour change strategy and online presence is promoting the importance of sustainability and is poised to inspire staff, reduce the barriers to behaviour change and provide practical solutions for minimising energy use across our operations.
The impact for patients
Our guiding principle at Great Ormond Street is ‘the child first and always’, which is why we care about our environmental impact. We believe that the health and well-being of the population is closely linked to environmental issues and climate change is even more significant in the context of child health. We are committed to providing world-class healthcare whilst being environmentally responsible.
We are making improvements to our buildings and processes, and helping our staff to take actions to create the best surroundings and service for our patients and staff. We aim to be world-class in our energy and water use and to limit the waste we produce, creating a healthier world for generations to come.