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Public sector could save millions

01 March 2012

New research from Sustain, has found that facilities professionals in the public sector could dramatically reduce their spend on utilities. In England, savings in schools and hospitals could result in total savings of a quarter of a billion pounds each year.

Sustain is partnering with the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) in urging facilities managers, who present the options about energy use in buildings, to think again about potential efficiencies in energy and water through well planned programmes of effective measures.

Using publicly available data, Sustain analysed the energy spend of state schools and the NHS in England. It found that schools spend £641m on energy and water and the NHS spends £500m every year. School spending on utility costs represents 3.5% of the costs spent on teaching staff.

Even basic utility saving measures for schools would result in £130m in savings – enough to fund 116 new schools.

The NHS could save at least £100m through well-planned energy efficiency measures and savings by individual trusts could increase this to £150m. Even the more conservative £100m saving could pay for 12,260 heart bypass operations or the treatment of 21,600 stroke patients. These are important savings given the NHS has targets to make £20 billion efficiency savings by 2015.

Matt Fulford, Head of Low Carbon Buildings at Sustain, said: “The kinds of measures hospitals could easily adopt are tried and tested measures which have been proven to work. These include changing lamps in existing light fittings, making sure existing heating systems are running well and temperature settings are in place to reduce running time and insulating buildings and boiler rooms.

These ideas may seem like simplistic solutions and far from the often more attractive renewable energy schemes but, cumulatively, and combined with other well thought out measures, they could save the NHS a fortune.”

“We know that most school and hospital leadership teams are keen to act in this area but often lack the resource to develop the schemes.”

“This cash saving is there for the taking – and the money could be put to much better use in front-line delivery of health care and education.

Bill Wright, BIFM’s Energy Policy Advisor, said: “The work that Sustain has undertaken highlights that there is much to be done in improving energy efficiency in buildings. Energy and water costs are straight off the ‘bottom line’ and even simple changes to building operation or the installation of energy and water efficient equipment can deliver major savings. The figures that Sustain has collected identify where savings can be potentially made and costs reduced, to the benefit of the public.”

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