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Responding to the spread of coronavirus - Message from our Managing Director

How can energy strategies help enable a sustainable business model?

90% of healthcare providers agree that there are opportunities for energy strategies to help enable a sustainable business model

Both environmental and financial sustainability are high on the agenda of healthcare leaders. Reducing the £400m+ per year that the NHS spends on energy1 will be critical to achieving a viable, long-term future and meeting carbon reduction targets.

But how can you simultaneously reduce carbon emissions, lower energy costs and generate new revenue streams to invest in frontline patient care? Can an energy strategy really enable you to improve both environmental and financial sustainability?

We think so, and 90% of healthcare respondents we surveyed agreed.2

We believe that taking advantage of new technologies and implementing modern energy strategies is now essential for achieving a more sustainable healthcare future.

Environmental and business sustainability

As the healthcare market becomes more competitive, protecting your reputation means demonstrating a strong environmental profile. According to The King’s Fund, ‘the NHS is the most significant public sector contributor to climate change.’3

In the face of regulatory targets, many hospitals have made public commitments to carbon reduction targets. In line with the UK’s commitments under the 2008 Climate Change Act, the NHS has committed to an 80% target for reducing carbon emissions by 2050, against a 1990 baseline.4

But sustainability in healthcare encompasses more than just environmental performance. With funding shortfalls seemingly entrenched, healthcare providers now face the additional challenge of ensuring that they have a sustainable business model.

The way forward

The way forward lies in taking advantage of low-carbon technologies and supply-side incentives. Many healthcare facilities have underutilised real estate (including roof spaces) that could be used for renewable energy generation.

For sites with mixed energy requirements, on-site power production through cogeneration (combined heat and power/CHP) or trigeneration (CHP integrated with absorption chillers) can deliver significant benefits.

On-site generation technologies such as solar and CHP also enable the generation of new income streams by selling excess capacity back to the grid – turning unused space into a productive asset.

From obstacles to opportunities

Despite the potential for significant savings, many healthcare providers are still not taking advantage of new, more efficient generation technologies – in large part because of a lack of knowledge, or a perception that they lack the necessary capital or skills.

But with today’s flexible funding models and the option to outsource energy management to specialist providers, these obstacles can be overcome.

Our Perspectives Series article enables you to find out more about how you can harness the potential of energy to build a sustainable future. From low-carbon technologies to efficient energy approaches, we highlight the options available to you and set out the energy strategies we believe you should prioritise to enable a more sustainable business model.

1The Carbon Trust Hospital Sector Overview, 2Energy Advantage Research, Centrica Business Solutions. Statistics based on a six country survey of more than 1,000 energy decision-makers in large organisations, 3, 4NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy for England, NHS Sustainable Development Unit