Energy saving in care homes
An introduction to the problems facing care homes
Over recent years the UK has started to experience the effects of an ageing population and, as a result, is now struggling to adapt to the increase in demand on care homes and residential services.
“There are now more people in the UK aged 60 and above than there are under 18” – Age UK
The elderly are also becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their standard of living and it’s no wonder… With over 2.9million +65 year olds saying that they feel that they have no one to turn to for help and support and only as little as 36% of people aged 50 and over saying that they are confident that older people who receive care services are treated with dignity and respect.
What is causing quality failures in care homes?
Amongst other reasons for funding shortfalls in care services, like higher staffing costs, local authority budget cuts regarding how much they pay towards patient care takes a prominent position of blame in failing standards.
In 2015, 15 social care and elderly support groups addressed this issue with George Osbourne, writing to him in a plea to address the £2.9billion funding gap that the sector faced after already being battered by coalition cuts.
The letter warned:
“Up to 50% of the care home market will become financially unviable and care homes will start to close their doors,”
“Seventy-four per cent of domiciliary home-care providers who work with local councils have said that they will have to reduce the amount of publicly funded care they provide. If no action is taken, it is estimated that this would affect half of all of the people and their families who rely on these vital services.”
What can your care home do to bridge the funding gap?
There are options available to your care home, which will not impose on the quality of living of your residents, the working conditions of staff or your ability to run your business.
Our experience dictates that energy saving in care homes is a strong and successful overhead reduction tactic. You can incorporate it into pretty much every aspect of your business to reduce both costs and your environmental impact – which in turn could make your business the care home of choice to environmentally conscious residents.
“In total, the UK’s healthcare sector spends more than £400 million per year on energy. Unfortunately, a significant proportion of this is wasted, meaning that money is being wasted too.” – Carbon Trust
Cost effective energy saving in care homes
The best way to identify how you can make energy savings is by investigating what you already use…
In figure 1 you can see the typical energy usage distribution for primary healthcare services.
Diagram source: carbontrust.com/media/138439/ctv025.pdf
Exchange Utility’s team of energy experts have explored the energy saving possibilities that are open to care homes and conjured a list of pathways that have the potential to save your business thousands of pounds collectively. This is funding that you would then be free to reinvest in training, facilities and the overall wellbeing of your business.
Check your care home energy bills
The Competition Markets Authority estimate that over 1.3 million businesses are overpaying on their energy contracts, resulting in suppliers accumulating approximately £500 million each year in EXCESS profits!
This can be due to a number of reasons, including selecting inappropriate tariffs for your business’ needs or allowing your business to go out of contract – which results in you being placed onto more costly tariffs.
To combat this, and potentially save upto 36% on your business energy spend, all you need do is contact a member of staff at Exchange Utility on 0800 9777 000 for a completely free and impartial tariff review. Our experts are specifically trained in the best ways to manage business energy and how to select the best contract for your business – Utilising their knowledge for your business can result in you making easy saving without having to lift a finger! All you need is a recent bill and our experts will guide you through the rest.
Get in touch on 0800 9777 000 or complete our online enquiry form to start saving today.
How to reduce heating costs and create energy savings for your care home
As you can see, heating is a major culprit for care homes experiencing high energy bills, concerning consumption, as it is typically responsible for 70% of the cost of energy bills.
Here’s what you can do to get those costs down for your care home:
Install central heating instead of using electric heaters
Doing this can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that your heating system emits by half and running costs by as much as two thirds.
Be mindful of your thermostat
Reducing the temperature of your heating by just one degree can save your business £85-£90 each year in a property the size of a three bedroom semi-detached according to the Energy Saving Trust – Imagine the difference it could make to your care home.
Close your windows
Leaving a window open overnight wastes the same amount of fuel in heating as a small car driving 35 miles!
Keep your cavity and roof insulation topped up
A lack of well-maintained cavity wall and roof insulation can result in your business losing as much as ¼ of its heat. Ensuring insulation is present and topped up regularly could save your business in the region of £135 each year.
Reduce the costs of water usage in your care home
Care homes use a lot of hot water to keep their clients clean, happy and hygienic. Given that water heating is estimated to be responsible for over 12% of your energy consumption, saving water definitely has its benefits:
- Water bill reduction
- Energy use and bill reduction
- Lessen environmental impact
- Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by using less energy to pump, heat and treat the water
Here are some simple steps that can help you to achieve all of the above!
Tighten up your care homes taps
A single dripping tap is estimated to waste over 5,500 litres of water every year! According to waterwise.org this is enough water to fill a paddling pool every week for the whole summer. As a result, mending a dripping tap could save your care home more than £18 per year, PER TAP!
Mini money saving estimation: Number of taps in your care home x £18 = saving potential
Encourage showering instead of bathing to make a saving
The average bath is thought to consume between 35 and 60 gallons of water each time, whereas a 10 minute shower uses just 25 gallons…
Encouraging just four residents of your care home – that are able to – to replace just one bath each week with a five minute shower could save you up to £20 each year on gas and up to £25 on water according to The Energy Saving Trust. So if your care home has a number of able bodied residents, why not give it a try?
Mini money saving estimation
Gas savings: Number of able bodied residents x £5 = saving potential
Water savings: Number of able bodied residents x £6.25 = saving potential
Get ahead on water saving for your care home
It might come as a surprise to you that shower heads can also have a large impact on your care homes water consumption and bills. This is because some shower heads are able to use the water that they protrude more efficiently than others.
Swapping an inefficient shower head for an efficient one has the potential to save your business approximately £65 on gas bills and £100 on water bills each year!
Mini money saving estimation: Number of showers in your care home x £165 = saving potential
Turn the lights out on poor efficiency!
As the average third largest driver of care home energy bills, tackling your lighting costs has the potential to yield your business some decent savings which you can then reinvest in your care home, staff and residents. Below are just a few cost effective ways that can save money on lighting:
Get motion sensor smart
Installing motion sensors is a highly effective way of ensuring that you aren’t wasting money on unnecessary lighting without having to goad people about turning lights off.
Sensors can cost as little as £20 and save your business up to 10% on lighting spend.
Smart key cards
Although not often applied to the care home sector, installing smart key cards that cut the power to lighting and other none essential devices when a resident exits their room – like in hotels – has HUGE saving potential! There are hotels who have used this method to take control of their energy spend that have managed to save 45% on their lighting bill – That is an impressive piece of consumption reduction!
Plus your care home would reap the added benefits of giving residents a fond reminder of being on holiday as well as ease of entry into their room or residence and inexpensive key replacements.
It is no longer a secret that certain types of bulb use less energy than others. The question is, to what extent are the potential savings?
Here’s a quick exercise to help you find out, as the result is highly dependent on the size of your business premises:
Number of bulbs in your business x £3 = saving potential per year
Get started on saving money on energy in your care home
As you can see, your care home has the potential to save a lot of money using clever consumption reduction techniques and appropriate energy management advice.
If you’re looking for a FREE and easy way to get started, grab a recent bill and call an Exchange Utility business energy expert. They will be able to aid you in recognising if you are overpaying your current suppliers and advise on appropriate, cost saving, courses of action for your business going forward.
It’s quick, simple and can help your care home to take the first step in taking control of its energy costs and consumption.
Call: 0800 9777 000
Or complete an online enquiry form