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24 September 2014

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You are in: Somerset > Credit Crunch > Somerset's hospitals see huge rise in fuel bills

Front view of Weston General

Staff at Weston share green ideas

Somerset's hospitals see huge rise in fuel bills

While ambulances are costing more to run, so are our hospitals. They’re finding ways of reducing their bills, from investing in new technology to bringing in new working practices.

Fuel costs for Somerset's hospitals

Musgrove Park Hospital

Last year's budget for fuel bills was £1.3m

This is set to increase to 1.65m, a rise of £350,000

Yeovil District Hospital

Fuel bills have gone up by £195,000 this year

Forecasts for next year could mean their energy budget could be over £1m

Weston General Hospital

Gas and electricity costs are expected to go up by £196,000 this financial year

Somerset’s three main hospitals, Weston General, Musgrove Park and Yeovil District Hospital are expecting to pay a total of more than £700,000 extra in gas and electricity this year, compared to last year.

'Energy Champion'

Weston General has taken the lead on this by introducing an 'Energy Champion', a group of people at the hospital led by the Medical Director of the Trust, Dr Tricia Woodhead.

They work on a voluntary basis to exchange ideas and share good practice on how to save money and reduce energy waste.

Their achievements so far include installing paper recycling bins and putting up posters from the Carbon Trust to remind people to switch off electrical equipment when they leave work.

Energy Champion Catherine Ahern told BBC Somerset’s Big Breakfast: “It’s really something that’s got to be developed into your everyday psyche to become part of your daily routine.

“You don’t look at it as a cost cutting exercise.

"We don't have to have our heating on at full blast across the trust with the windows wide open."

Catherine Ahern, Weston General Hospital

“You think it’s part of a daily process at work when you pack and go, you switch everything off.’’

The heating system has also changed.

“In the winter we now are able to regulate our heating, so we don’t have to have our heating on at full blast across the trust with the windows wide open,’’  she said.

A spokesperson for Weston General said in the first three months of this year, they recycled more waste than in the first 12 months of the scheme.

This is down to more waste being recycled; from paper, to plastics and glass.

Their electricity bill in the same three month period has gone down by one per cent, compared to the same period last year.

Air conditioning

Yeovil District Hospital predicts a rise of between 30 and 55 per cent for its energy bills, which could potentially take its current bill of around £750,000 to over £1m next year.

Some of the energy measures include installing more efficient heating equipment and encouraging staff to change their habits, by switching off lights and equipment where necessary.

There are several projects on the horizon, including replacing the roof coverings at a cost of £1.2m, insulating water and steam pipe-work around the building and fitting sensors to air conditioning units.

Ned Binding, the director of facilities, said: “We’re looking to upgrade our lighting.

“The lighting system at the moment is dependent on people switching them off and on.

“We plan to put in movement sensors and lux sensors, and they will determine whether the lights are switched on or off.’’

Motion sensors

Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton is also looking at the long-term measures to save energy and will shortly be launching an Energy Campaign.

Simon Rigby, head of facilities, said: “Part of the challenge we have in hospitals with electricity is the continuing rise in technology and additional IT equipment that causes our electricity consumption to rise year on year.’’

Work has also begun to make the buildings more energy efficient.

Last year £250,000 was spent on replacing old boilers, which has increased energy efficiency by ten per cent and more changes are on the way.

“We’re looking at upgrading lighting within the hospital, with high efficiency lights using motion sensors to make sure lights are switched off when not in use.

“The hospital building itself will eventually be re-built.

“A third of our site is an old American hospital. It isn’t designed with energy efficiency in mind - we have plans to replace that in the coming years,’’ said Simon.

“We’re very excited at the opportunities we’re going to have to look at new technologies to get the best possible energy efficiency.’’

last updated: 24/07/2008 at 13:17
created: 24/07/2008

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