Infrared thermal imaging: a tool for NHS energy efficiency

Category: Analyse & Quantify Thermal Images, asset portfolio audit, Detect & Inspect Property Defects, Discover & Diagnose Energy Inefficiencies, Energy Efficiency, energy management

NHS energy efficiency

The Health Sector has been one of the most pro-active in setting clear and strict targets for energy efficiency and carbon reduction.

Whilst the NHS spends million of ££ on energy consumption, the Department of Health has already supported to the tune of more million of ££ the effort to reduce the impact of health provision on the environment in the UK.

Here we look at key data and suggest IRT as a simple solution to aid decision making to meet NHS energy efficiency targets.

NHS Energy efficiency: consumption data

For 2015, NHS England  reportedly exceeded its target of 10% carbon reduction, whilst working towards 34% by 2020. NHS Boards Scotland also reported exceeding their annual carbon reduction target of 3% with a 7% outcome and their annual energy reduction target of 1% with a 5% outcome.

Both NHS England and NHS Scotland also report on their annual energy expenditure, although figures don’t appear to be available for the latter after 2014. The difference in expenditure between both regions is confusing to say the least. We can however safely state that the NHS is one of the UK’s most energy-intensive organisations with millions spent on energy costs each year.

NHS Energy efficiency: Reduction measures

In 2012, we came across an article suggesting that basic energy efficiency measures could easily save the NHS £170 million annually. As opposed to costly and destructive actions, these measures were simple and quick-win, such as smart meters, more efficient boilers or lighting and heating controls.

More recently, a report from Sustainable Development Unit acknowledges the progress made and also provides recommendations, notably that

Partnership networks with industry and private providers need to be further developed to unlock innovation and solutions across all parts of the sector and its supply chain.

Whether in 2012 or 2016, the recommendations make sense. Having used a simple and cost-effective technology such as thermal imaging to survey several NHS properties over the years, we have seen first-hand how it is possible to precisely target and effectively reduce energy consumption.

NHS Energy efficiency: How infrared thermography can help

Themographic surveys are revolutionising building surveying in the areas that matter the most: accuracy, cost and speed. Several of our recent projects with NHS Trusts have given them concrete evidence of poorly performing buildings. In turn they have presented the findings  to contractors for them to carry out appropriate refurbishments.

With IRT, we can survey every facet of a building for detection of energy inefficiencies and heat loss and building defects  such as missing insulation and poor detailing.

In a project with a hospital in the south of England we used thermal imaging to assess the continuity of insulation and determine areas of heat loss, revealing over £50,000 of yearly savings.

Meanwhile, upgrading boilers to 85% efficiency would be worth just under £40,000 of annual savings, as well as 1,999,087 kWh and 396 CO2 tonnes per year. All of this information was revealed by simple, inexpensive and quickly-captured images taken over the course of one night.

NHS Energy efficiency: Using infrared thermography to make energy reduction decisions

Another recent project with a hospital in the east of England revealed over £150,000 of annual savings.

The report handed in to our NHS client, contained almost 200 analysed, quantified and explained images. The report also provided recommendations to address each defect and these would have on the energy consumption.


Extract from the report summary is as follows:

The building’s current energy rating is G.

By addressing the defects and improving the building fabric, potential savings are as follows :

Save £150,767 per year.

Save 1,548,183 kg of CO² per year.

Achieve an energy rating of C.

With a CRC saving of £18,578 per year.

We were able to provide these clear and impartial recommendations by using IRT surveys patented Envision software and carbon diet plan. These gave the hospital a clear path to follow and breakdown of the most important refurbishments to consider to move forward and reach targets. This was particularly important in terms of the EPC rating, given the current rating of G of the buildings was considerably lower than the minimum rating of E specified by the UK Energy Act 2011.

Do you have energy targets to meet and don’t know where to start? Does the prospect of writing an energy efficiency programme fill you with dread due to lack of data on your buildings? We can help you. Contact us with your project details by clicking on the button below.

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