Professional Comment

How Your Care Home Can Reduce Energy Consumption

By Energy Saving expert at Love Energy Savings –

Care homes and nursing homes tend to have significantly high energy bills; this is primarily caused by high energy consumption. These facilities run 24 hours a day, so it is important to keep buildings warm and well-lit.

It’s claimed that there are more people over the age of 60 than there are individuals under the age of 18 in the UK, so it’s clear that care homes won’t be short of residents any time soon.

To help combat excessively high energy bills, care homes and nursing homes can become more energy efficient. Aiming to reduce energy wastage will help lower overhead costs. Assessments and the right balance are required to ensure the living environment is suitable.

Continue reading this guide to find out how you can reduce your energy consumption and lower your bills, without compromising the comfort of your residents.

Why is energy efficiency important in care and nursing homes?

The UK’s healthcare sector spends over £400 million on energy per year and a great deal of this energy is wasted, according to the Carbon Trust.

This means that healthcare facilities like care homes and nursing homes are spending excessively on energy. This is money that could instead be spent on improving these spaces for the wellbeing of elderly residents.

This energy wastage also has a damaging effect of the environment. With climate change becoming an increasingly serious issue, we should all be increasing our efforts to stop energy wastage and preserve the earth.

By taking steps to improve energy efficiency, care homes and nursing homes could reduce their overheads and have more money to invest into their services. They could also reduce their carbon footprint and help with environmental sustainability.

How to improve the energy efficiency in your care home or nursing home
Energy efficiency, coupled with a suitable energy tariff, can help you lower your care home’s energy bills significantly.

You can boost your nursing home’s energy efficiency with a number of simple measures. Below we list some key areas for you to target within your facility and highlight energy saving measures to help you lower your consumption.

1. Heating
Heating typically accounts for around 70% of a care home’s energy bills. Ideal temperatures for these facilities are likely to be higher than in everyday households, as older people are more susceptible to the cold.

Although it’s inevitable that the heating will be used to a greater degree in care homes, there are ways in which you can heat the facility efficiently in order to keep your bills as low as possible.

For example, choosing central heating instead of electric heaters could help you save and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. You should also reduce your thermostat temperatures to the lowest comfortable setting for your residents; this small measure can help you save significantly over time.

Additionally, investing in low H20 radiators could help you save as they use less water to produce the same amount of heat as standard radiators.

Last but certainly not least, you should ensure that your heating appliances are maintained properly. Organising a yearly service for your facility’s boiler and heating system could help to prevent any expensive and disruptive faults from occurring.

2. Insulation
Insulation plays a key role in maintaining temperatures in your building.

Investing in wall, cavity, roof and/or floor insulation will help you retain heat in your facility and reduce your reliance on your heating system, thus helping you lower your energy consumption. You could also invest in double glazing for your windows to help keep heat in and maintain your ideal temperatures.

We also recommend keeping doors and windows closed where possible to prevent warm air from escaping and cold air from entering from outdoors. Additionally, you should ensure that any insulation you have installed is well-maintained and topped up regularly.

3. Lighting
To boost the energy efficiency in your care home and reduce your overheads, we highly recommend investing in LED lightbulbs. Light-Emitting Diodes use 90% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs. They’re also longer lasting, so you can save on purchase costs. After installing LEDs, you should switch to a cheaper business electricity tariff for maximum savings.

Additionally, you could cut costs by installing motion sensors for your facility’s lighting.

Older patients may forget to turn lights off when they leave rooms. Motion sensors will detect when rooms are empty and switch the lights off automatically, thus helping you reduce energy wastage. The fact that the lights will also turn on automatically when a resident enters a room may also make it easier for them to manoeuvre around.

Alternatively, you could invest in smart key cards, like those used in hotels, to turn lights and other appliances off when a resident vacates the room.

4. Water
Approximately 12% of a care home’s energy consumption comes from heating water. To cut costs on water heating, you could invest in products like water-efficient shower heads and tap aerators to reduce water consumption. You should also ensure that you fix leaking or dripping taps as soon as possible. It’s claimed that a dripping tap could waste over 5,000 litres of water per year!

Additionally, where physically possible, you could encourage residents to take showers instead of baths in order to save water. We also recommend insulating your hot water tank and pipework in order to keep hot water warm for longer periods.

Many are not aware that businesses are now able to switch water supplier. You can even request a free water audit to improve efficiency. You can compare water suppliers here.

5. Appliances
Finally, you should always aim to purchase energy efficient products for your nursing home facility. Appliances that have high Energy Label ratings will help you reduce your energy consumption and lower your overhead costs.

For example, investing in A-rated kettles, refrigerators, freezers and boilers will boost your facility’s energy efficiency and also reduce your carbon footprint, as these efficient products are manufactured to operate using minimal energy. Please note, the energy labels for products in the UK and EU have now changed, visit the website for further guidance.

Furthermore, it’s also recommended that you avoid keeping appliances on standby mode. Electronics still consume energy when they are on standby, this is known as a phantom load. Switching off your appliances completely will help you save energy and further reduce your bills.