Care Homes

Energy Efficiency in Care Homes: Why Should We Care?

Energy efficiency in care homes should be a key consideration for managers and owners. Because care home residents are generally older or ill and feel the cold, the temperature of these facilities tends to be kept quite high. Another reason that care homes are such high energy users is that they are essentially 24-hour facilities, with residents there and using gas and electricity for most of the day and night.

Did you know? In the UK, there are more people over the age of 60 than there are people under the age of 18.

An ageing population means an increased demand for care homes. And managers of care home are faced with increasing pressure to look after the safety and well-being of their residents in a cost-effective way.

The age of the population is increasing, along with rising energy costs. This is why energy efficiency in care homes can save a lot of energy and a lot of money.

“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

Why implement energy efficiency for care homes?

  • Energy efficiency tactics can be incorporated into multiple aspects of the businesses, reducing both costs and environmental impact.
  • Energy-intensive care homes stand to make long-term savings by reducing energy consumption.
  • Effective energy management leads to a safer and more comfortable environment for care home residents.

How to implement energy efficiency in care homes

Care homes across the UK have the potential to save on energy bills using consumption reduction techniques, and appropriate contract and energy management advice.

Heating systems

Did you know? Heating is typically responsible for 70% of a care home’s energy bills.

  • Care home facilities often have large boilers servicing the property. Maintenance of the boiler is key to energy-efficient heating. You may also need to look at replacing an old boiler.
  • Install Low-H2O radiators – these use less water to produce the same amount of heat.
  • Instead of electric heaters, warm your facility using central heating. This has a dramatic effect on the amount of greenhouse gases your facility emits.
  • Reduce the temperature of your heating – even bringing the temperature down by one degree can save energy significantly.

Insulation

  • With high heat demands, care homes should have effective insulation in walls, roofs and other cavities to retain the heat.
  • Keep your insulation well-maintained and topped up regularly.
  • Close windows to prevent heat from escaping, especially at night-time.

Did you know? If you leave a window open overnight, this wastes as much as a small car would use to drive 35 miles!

Water

Did you know? Water heating is responsible for 12% of a care home’s energy consumption.

  • Tighten up all the taps in your care home facility, as a single dripping tap wastes thousands of litres per year.
  • Encourage residents to shower instead of bath, as bathing uses less water.
  • Install water-efficient showerheads.

Lighting

  • Install motion sensors that switch lights off automatically when a room is unoccupied.
  • Like hotels, care homes can also make use of smart key cards that turn off lights and other non-essential devices when a resident is not in their room.
  • Switch to LED light bulbs, which use far less energy than halogen bulbs and also last a lot longer.

Renewable solutions for care homes

Installing solar panels can work well for care homes, which generally have a large surface area for the placement of panels. Care homes on large plots of land can also look into getting wind turbines.

Aside from reducing dependency on the energy grid, another benefit is that your care home can take advantage of energy-efficiency incentive schemes. Such schemes may pay you for your renewable energy generation.

Investing in renewable energy technologies now will protect the long-term welfare of the care home facility and its residents. Capital expenditure now means savings into the future. You may also be surprised to learn that implementing renewable solutions is more affordable than you think, and the costs can be funded in part by various government green funding initiatives.

Energy efficiency in care homes: where to start

Although energy and other costs in care homes are spiralling, implementing energy efficiency in care homes can help ease financial burdens.

The easiest – and most cost-effective – way to reduce your care home’s energy costs is to get in touch with the energy experts at Smarter Business. We can help you recognise if you are paying your current energy supplier too much, help you switch suppliers and advise on short- and long-term energy efficiencies.

Read more about energy for care homes and request a free consultation.