The public sector could unlock more than £375m in cost savings every year by adopting modern energy technology, according to new research released by Centrica Business Solutions today.
The saving, which amounts to over £5.6bn over a typical 15 year energy contract, is identified in a new study that aims to assess the economic opportunity of the healthcare, universities and defence estate adopting green technology such as solar panels and combined heat and power units. Investment in this area would also drive an additional positive impact for the UK economy, supporting 25,000 jobs.
The Powering Britain’s Public Sector report found that if just half of public sector organisations within these three sectors updated their energy infrastructure, they would reduce emissions by eight per cent and save 660,000 tonnes of carbon each year - the equivalent of taking over 435,000 cars off the road. The carbon reduction savings could be doubled with the injection of around 20% green gas – a type of gas created from biodegradable material – into the fuel mix.
The NHS has the lion’s share of potential savings, with a total annual savings opportunity of £187m, enough to pay the salaries of more than 5,800 nurses.
Combined, the three public sector estates are responsible for more than 7.8million tonnes of carbon emissions each year and have been challenged by the Government to reduce emissions by 30% by 2020/21 and hit net zero by 2050.
Iain Conn, Centrica Group Chief Executive, said: “Government bodies have two very clear challenges, to operate more cost effectively and more sustainably. New energy technologies, adopted aggressively, have the potential to unlock both.
“Over the last four years, Centrica has been building the capabilities in energy services and solutions to satisfy the changing needs of our customers, and to enable their transition to a lower carbon future. This report sets out how we can help our customers in these critical sectors of the UK economy.”
Richard Hookway, Chief Executive of Centrica Business, said: “The Government has announced £1.8bn of extra capital funding for the NHS. Investing a fraction of this in distributed energy technology would not only improve the resilience of trusts but would create long term savings that could be redirected towards new nurses, new infrastructure and protecting vital front-line services.
“What’s needed now is for government and public sector leaders to work together on making this opportunity a reality. Centrica has committed to helping the public sector deliver £300m in energy efficiency savings by 2030 as part of our responsible business ambitions, so we are ready to support.”
To enable the public sector to push forward these changes, Centrica makes four recommendations to Government, including the simplification of procurement frameworks and a stable and long term regulatory environment.
To read the report in full, click here.
Case study: Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E)
The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E) is set to reduce its energy costs by £800,000 a year, following a £7 million investment in sustainable energy measures.
The project, delivered by Centrica Business Solutions, will see state-of-the-art energy technology installed at five sites across Exeter, helping the RD&E to cut its energy costs by 17 per cent.
Design and construction is set to be completed by the end of April 2020. It includes the installation of a new 1.5MW combined heat and power unit that will generate power onsite at Wonford Hospital, as well as roof mounted solar panels at Wonford and Heavitree Hospitals and Mardon Neuro-Rehabilitation Centre in Exeter.
Wonford and Heavitree Hospitals will also benefit from new LED light fittings and improvements to the air conditioning systems, while Mardon Neuro-Rehabilitation Centre will profit from the installation of new energy-efficient boilers.
Once complete, it will reduce annual emissions by more than 2,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the equivalent to taking more than 1,450 cars off the road.