Building Awards 2015 Finalist
Building Better Healthcare Awards 2014 Winner

Self-Funding Energy Cost & Carbon Saving Programme

Virtus Consult were commissioned by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) to manage the delivery of energy cost and carbon saving measures across their three sites through self-funding projects. We have emphatically achieved the targeted results and delivered a range of benefits, exceeding the original guaranteed energy savings by nearly 20%.

The Process

In order to meet the new budget reduction and carbon emission targets under the Carbon Reduction Commitment, the Trust have committed to a carbon reduction of 25% from 2007/08 levels over the next five years. The Trust’s annual spend on energy and water in 2011/12 was approximately £5.2m and the total carbon emissions were 28,210 tCO2e.

At the time of comissioning, the Trust had already implemented CHP schemes (including chilling and de-steaming) and were then focusing on demand side improvements. They had no framework or suppliers in place with capability in energy reduction and were mandated to follow OJEU guidelines to procure the team to achieve their goal. At the outset the Trust wanted the projects to be market led, third party funded, value for money and paid for through the savings achieved. With this in mind the team at Virtus worked with the Trusts Executive, Legal, Finance, Estates and Procurement teams to develop a strategy and process to deliver technology improvements, consumption reduction and behavioural changes across the portfolio without disrupting the core function of the three hospitals.

Virtus therefore undertook the following:

  • Energy Audit - a detailed and comprehensive survey of the facility, including the fabric, the plant, the operation, the people and their behaviour.
  • Options Identification – an exploration of the potential of every conceivable energy saving measure, from insulation of plant and buildings, to full scale wind turbines, solar arrays, comprehensive lighting redesign, and engineering solutions.
  • The Procurement stage - Virtus managed the entire procurement process to ensure complete compliance with OJEU guidelines, as well as technical and commercial best in class performance.
  • Project Management - comprehensive oversight of the installation of all the cost savings measures, often accomplished during normal operation of the facility and working around complicated logistics and to accelerated timescales.
  • Monitoring and Verification - the continuous evaluation of each installation so as to confirm the delivered savings, and identify any scope for further improvement.

See here for a more detailed explanation of the Virtus award-winning process.

The Measures

  • Lighting
    • The original lighting was mostly dated fluorescent tubes with standard control gear and no control strategy. The lamps were replaced and a control strategy was introduced that allows the lighting to dim when natural light is sufficient or when there is no human presence. This drastically reduced the energy consumption while maintaining sufficient light levels to mitigate any possible health and safety concerns.
  • Pipework insulation
    • Heat loss through un-insulated pipework can generate high surface temperatures and are a health and safety risk if touched. Exposed hot pipework wastes energy directly and can result in overheated areas, leading to doors and windows being left open and even more waste. HEFT had extensive steam and hot water pipework that was all insulated, delivering massive savings.

Pipework Insulation

  • Variable speed drives
    • The Trust had numerous fans, pumps and chillers, all of which operate using motors to deliver the required power. In each case, the demand fluctuates and the power required is therefore variable. By retrofitting variable speed drives to these motors, the energy provided can be reduced in line with the demand.
  • Refrigeration controls
    • Speed Drives The refrigeration compressors were running part-loaded, which is inefficient. Controls were installed which monitor the actual load required by the compressor motor and switch off the power each time the wave form passes through zero (which is 50 times per second) allowing the motor to free wheel, thus saving power. The compression cycle is unaffected by this and therefore the temperature control and fridge performance remain the same.
  • Energy Display Meters
    • The key to engaging staff and patients is to make energy consumption and its impact visible and meaningful. The indirect benefit is that it enables benchmarking across the estate and greatly helps with evaluating progress.
  • Solar PV
    • The Trust was able to take advantage of large areas of south facing roof, enabling the installation of 500kW of power. In combination with the feed-in tariff for renewable energy, the Trust have realised significant benefits from on-site generation of electricity in total, the cost of all the measures implemented was £5.2m, but with a grant from the Department of Health, the payback period was just 4.5 years.


The Results

In January of 2016, the results of the first year of energy savings have been confirmed and delivered. The results can be summarised as follows:

Total contracted guaranteed savings 8,130,669 kWh
Actual measured and verified savings 9,651,999 kWh
Percentage +/- +19%
Financial saving confirmed £596,303

This is a fantastic result that we are really proud of. If you would like to benefit from our experience and expertise, please get in touch and we’d be happy to discuss your project with you.

Jan Ponsford

07595 728365

[email protected]

Oxford Office
267 Banbury Road

Tel: 01865 339 439