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Optimising energy management

10 September 2010

SPONSORED ARTICE: Optimising energy efficiency and minimising carbon emissions requires much more than simply introducing energy saving initiatives

COFELY’S OPTIMISE PARTNERSHIP encompasses all aspects of operation and maintenance, as well as energy management with fully integrated packages that cover energy procurement and installation of plant right through to day-to-day management and leveraging the benefits of low carbon technologies. All designed to drive down costs, environmental impact and carbon footprint.
COFELY Optimise also provides a cost-effective solution to managing the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme, Display Energy Certificates, Energy Performance Certificates and other energy-saving initiatives. Crucially, Optimise is highly flexible and easily adapted to each customer’s precise requirements, whatever sector they operate in.
The effectiveness of the Optimise philosophy is clearly exemplified by the recent construction and management of a new Energy Centre at Pilgrim Hospital in  Lincolnshire, as illustrated by these key points:
● Design, construct and operate energy centre contract
● Carbon savings of 51 percent already achieved, equivalent to £210,000 per annum
● Lessens CRC burden with anticipated carbon trading benefits expected to exceed £90,000 per annum
● Continuous improvement to achieve at least 5 percent energy savings per annum
● Contractual energy saving requirement already being exceeded
● On target to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2015
● Practical application of renewable energy technologies
● Future proofing for future developments in fuel markets
● Lessons learned being rolled out to other sites.
The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT), which also operates three other hospitals, has a strong commitment to sustainability and aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2015. The Trust also aims to meet best practice for heat demand in Acute NHS sites (50-55 gigajoules per 100 cubic metres).
In April 2008, following a tender under PFI rules to include finance, the Trust entered a partnership with COFELY to design and build the new Pilgrim Hospital Energy Centre. COFELY also has a 15 year contract to operate and maintain the new energy centre – with a commitment to achieve, on average, a 5 percent energy saving each year.
ULHT Environmental Services Manager, Kevin Thoy, commented: “We weren’t just looking for a construction company to come in and build us a new energy centre. From our perspective it was vital that the company we chose to partner with not only shared our vision of ongoing energy savings but was also able and willing to take a pro-active stance in delivering them.”
Unlike standard contracts with inflation-linked annual rises, COFELY’s Optimise philosophy has provided a highly flexible arrangement whereby any additional revenues enjoyed by COFELY will be achieved solely through the energy savings achieved.
Furthermore, COFELY plans to achieve the bulk of these energy savings in the early years of the contract so that the hospital realises the benefits from the earliest stage possible. COFELY has also worked closely with the Trust to roll out an awareness programme to staff to encourage energy-saving behaviour.
COFELY also financed the new energy centre, assisted the Trust in gaining grants from the Carbon Trust and other bodies and has assumed the financial risk relating to the new plant.
Before the contract began and while the energy centre was still being constructed, COFELY agreed to take over the operation of the existing plant. This enabled the team to gain an early insight into the hospital’s existing energy performance, as well as bringing COFELY staff into close contact with the hospital’s in-house maintenance team. The collaborative partnership that developed during this time has proved extremely beneficial in implementing new initiatives going forward.
In addition, COFELY’s dedicated Continuous Improvement team has begun to identify other areas where energy savings could be made. Initiatives that have already been taken forward include:
● Adjustments to the ventilation system in the main hospital to reduce demand on the ward heating systems. This is predicted to save around £40,000 per annum.
● Reduced low voltage power from 240V to 220V to reduce electricity consumption by around 8%.
● Challenging the need for six air changes per hour in wards, as these areas are naturally ventilated.
● Evaluation of wet heating systems identified areas for improvement.
All such initiatives are expected to deliver a return on investment within three years.
The Energy Centre
The original boiler plant at Pilgrim Hospital, installed in 1976, was proving to be inefficient and near to the end of its life. Consequently, ULHT took a pro-active approach to replacing it with a solution that would secure supplies of electricity, heating and hot water, reduce carbon emissions and make use of low carbon, sustainable technologies.
A further challenge was that the quantity of gas available on the site was limited and the cost to bring further supplies to site was prohibitively expensive (approx. £750,000).
The new energy centre was completed in 2009 and is set to reduce the hospital’s carbon emissions by around 51 percent, with financial savings in the order of £210,000 per annum.
Key features of the energy centre include use of combined heat and power (CHP) (pictured right) and a biomass-fuelled steam boiler using locally sourced wood chip – backed by dual fuel boilers that will enable the hospital to select the most cost-effective fuels as market prices change, including bio-oils.
“COFELY’s experience in low carbon technologies, combined with an understanding of the health sector, proved invaluable in choosing the best solution for the hospital in both the short and long term. COFELY also helped us to secure the extra funding, including a £200,000 biomass grant from Lincolnshire County Council,” Kevin Thoy added. “A major innovation of the scheme is the integration of the different heat sources to ensure optimum performance while providing the flexibility to respond quickly to changing market conditions in the future,” explained COFELY’s Richard Derry.
“The project optimises the limited natural gas supply in the CHP engine, while the fuel diversity and flexibility enables the Trust to utilise the most cost effective fuel source at any given time. This is a solution that could be applied to any acute hospital site,” he continued.
“The key element to the technical solution consisted of more than just buying equipment ‘off the shelf’. COFELY thought outside the box with an innovative approach that embraced the biomass option from the specification and looked towards a solution to
reduce capital cost and maximise carbon reduction. Additionally, the continuous improvement programme is clearly a substantial added value option that complements our longterm commitment to carbon reduction,” Kevin Thoy continued.
The Trust is now looking at a similar strategy for Grantham and District hospital, applying the best practice procedures developed at Pilgrim Hospital.
In parallel with these energy saving measures, the Trust and COFELY have embarked on a programme to educate staff and visitors about energy conservation and to flag up the Trust’s work in this area.
The programme has included bespoke posters and leaflets, ‘menu cards’ in canteens and restaurants and training seminars for hospital staff. In addition, energy champions from other NHS Trusts have been encouraged to visit the site.
Optimise in action
The Pilgrim Hospital project serves to illustrate the breadth of expertise that can be brought to bear within COFELY’s Optimise solutions. All Optimise solutions are individually tailored and made up of one or more of the following services:
● Energy Audit
● Operation & Maintenance
● Energy Management Services
● Energy Procurement & Supply
● Supply Management
● Sustainable Solutions.
● Further information can be found at www.cofely.co.uk


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