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Energy in the NHS

The major energy uses for health are building services (heating, cooling, hot water production, ventilation, cooling and lighting), medical (scanners, sterilisers, etc.), IT services, catering, and electrical appliances. Reducing this energy use and sourcing energy from renewable technologies will lower the NHS's carbon footprint, save money, and could potentially become a source of revenue.

A significant proportion of this energy, estimated to be up to 20%, is wasted. This not only represents unnecessary expenditure, but other lost opportunities: energy-efficient buildings often provide better conditions for patients and staff; better control of energy usage enables NHS Trusts to comply with mandatory targets and legislative requirements; and positive action to reduce energy use can help engage with stakeholders and the local community.

Encode, the Department of Health's guidance on using energy recommends a five-step approach to energy management, which has successfully been adopted by numerous organisations across the UK:

  • get commitment
  • understand energy use
  • plan and organise (identify resources)
  • implement
  • monitor energy use and set targets