Digital innovation helping to fight NHS energy cost crisis

David Pownall, Vice-President of Services at Schneider Electric UK & Ireland, explains how digitisation of power management, and deployment of ‘intelligent’ building management systems in healthcare facilities, can bring considerable benefits for healthcare Estates and Facilities managers – not only supporting their drive towards Net Zero, and cutting cost and emissions, but also helping them get the optimal performance, efficiency, and reliability, from their equipment.

The energy crisis continues to put businesses and public sector organisations under huge economic pressure. Healthcare is one of the most energy-intensive sectors, with NHS Trusts and healthcare facilities already consuming vast amounts of energy, and the World Health Organization forecasting that energy costs will rise over the next five years. Late last year, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust reported that it was expecting a 130% rise in its energy bill for 2022-23, compared with 2021-22, while Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said it was preparing for a 214% increase in electricity and gas costs for the same period. 

Alongside these soaring costs, the UK is also living in the shadow of blackouts and outages due to energy scarcity and extreme weather. In 2019 lightning strikes caused outages at Ipswich Hospital, where battery failure caused the back-up generator to fail. The energy risks facing the NHS are myriad. Running alongside is the overarching imperative to ensure that the service reaches its Net Zero goals; for direct emissions, it aims to reach Net Zero by 2040, with an ambition to reach an 80% reduction by 2028 to 2032. Combined, this means that NHS Estates & Facilities managers must embrace more efficient, resilient, and sustainable energy management approaches without compromising patient care. 

Always-on resiliency

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