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NHS could save up to £150m through energy efficiency measures



The NHS could cut its energy costs by 20% through energy efficiency measures, according to a new report from the Green Investment Bank (GIB). The report has been published as the organisation announces its fourth investment in the NHS.

The GIB began operating in 2012 and is capitalised with £3.8 billion of public money. It aims to help the UK transition to a green economy by supporting a variety of projects, with one of its priorities being energy efficiency.

The NHS is one of the UK’s most energy intensive organisations and spends more than £750 million on energy costs each year. As energy prices continue to rise, an increasing amount pressure is being put on NHS budgets.

However, the GIB says that by implementing a series of energy efficiency measures the organisation could cut its energy bill by £150 million each year.

In addition to cutting costs, the measures suggested could help the NHS surpass its emissions target. The organisation has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by 2015 but by improving energy efficiency could actually cut emissions by 25%.

Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive of the GIB, said, “As we would expect the NHS is one of the most energy intensive organisations in the UK. We want to help it reduce its energy costs by providing a package of support to finance energy efficiency measures.

“Investing in energy efficiency isn’t just about cost savings and environmental benefits. Projects can help the NHS upgrade its facilities while improving reliability and resilience of its systems.”

The report recommends using a mix of combined heat and power systems, LED lighting, heating, ventilation and control systems and biogas boilers in order to achieve the savings. The capital required to implement this is estimated to be up to £1.5 billion.

Norman Lamb, minister of state for health, added, “Energy efficiency measures are good for the health service and, by freeing up money that can be spent on front line services, are also good for patients.”

The GIB also announced it will be providing £1.1 million to finance an energy efficiency project with Cheltenham General Hospital – representing the bank’s fourth investment in the NHS.

This has mobilised an additional £1.1 million of private sector investment from the Aviva Investors REaLM Infrastructure Fund, in which the GIB is a cornerstone investor. The project will also receive a £900,000 grant from the Department of Health.

The project will finance the installation of a 1.3MW combined heat and power unit at the hospital and is structured so the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust does not have to make an upfront capital investment. It is expected to cut the Trust’s energy costs by 40% whilst reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30%.

In February, the GIB announced a partnership with a French finance group to fund energy efficiency projects, including one at Rampton Hospital in Nottinghamshire, which is set to save the organisation £1.7 million in bills.

Photo: Ben K Adams via Flickr

Further reading:

Green Investment Bank announces major investment in UK offshore wind

What do we need to change to make the NHS sustainable?

Green Investment Bank pledge £50m funding for energy efficiency

Green Investment Bank announces £11m investment in biomass plant

Green Investment Bank given go-ahead by EU


7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption



Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions |

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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