Within the health sector, the importance of health and well being now extends beyond residents and staff to caring for the environment and securing a sustainable future for sites across the UK.
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Case Study - BUPA UK
“Although utilising energy efficient and renewable technologies is standard practice in new build properties, we knew that reducing our energy consumption at source across our existing care homes on a mass scale would significantly minimise our environmental impact.”
Brita Sread, Property Director at Bupa UK
As part of its commitment to the environment and securing a sustainable future for its sites, BUPA has invested £28.3 million to retrofit energy efficient and renewable technologies into its nationwide property portfolio.
With plans to reduce carbon emissions globally by 20% by the end of the 2015, Bupa UK decided to collaborate with us to introduce over 200 bespoke heating systems. Each system installed at 150 locations throughout the UK comprised of a CHP module paired with condensing boilers.
Optimised for buildings with continuous heating and hot water requirements and high electricity usage, CHP is perfectly suited to a care home consumption pattern. The systems we install aim to meet the base load energy requirements within the care homes, using natural gas to generate electricity with the heat produced as a by-product then used for space and hot water heating.
The collective annual savings across the 89 sites are set to surpass £1.1m in the first year and has avoided almost five kilo tonnes of carbon emissions. This substantial reduction will vastly improve the environmental impact of Bupa UK by providing over 14MWh of self-generated electricity per year. Using CHP technology will also help to shield Bupa UK from rising energy prices, a cumulative saving of over £7m predicted by 2020.
Having been installed in over 89 Bupa care homes throughout the UK, the benefits of the CHP systems have been felt both by the organisation as well as the individual sites. For example, Summerhill Nursing and Residential Home, Kendal, has generated over 78,000 kWh of electricity since installing CHP. This energy would have cost over £8,000 if it had been purchased from the national grid and has avoided 40 tonnes of carbon being released.
CHP technology straddles two disciplines, bridging the gap between traditional heating and electrical generation. As such, its implementation is often less mechanical than other systems and one of the potential associated challenges of CHP for Bupa UK was troubleshooting on site. For example, when a module switches off and the heating system’s back-up boilers kick-in automatically, staff on site often remain unaware that the module is no longer in operation. While a secondary heat source may spring into action to avoid loss of heat for residents, the consequence is that no electricity is being generated during that period. This will have a significant impact on the payback period of the CHP module in question.
To remedy this, we installed a remote monitoring BMS system for all sites so that both parties could be notified via text message or email immediately should any problems arise; enabling them to resolve the issue as promptly as possible.
Working closely with Bupa UK, we successfully developed a simplified Hydraulic Solution which minimised the impact on all the sites and their residents and staff.