The Rosie Hospital is part of Addenbrooke’s Hospital; both are part of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Rosie’s focus is on the health and care of women, providing out-patient clinics, with a range of services that include family planning, genetic clinics, reproductive medicine, delivery, foetal medicine antenatal clinics, coloscopy, gynaecology, urodynamics, and much else.
In 2006, when working as the Service Delivery Manager in Women’s Services, I launched a competition that challenged staff to come up with ways to save costs, energy, or time in their normal daily working practices. It ran for one month. The collated ideas showed that staff had really looked at their work environment and the majority of the ideas generated promoted energy saving. For example:
• Switch off lights in seminar rooms at the end of meetings
• Always turn off lights after use in toilets
• All staff should turn off computer screens, printers and lights when leaving offices at the end of the day, and not leave them on over weekends. The residual electricity saved throughout the Trust would probably run into thousands of pounds per annum.
And so on. What happened next?
The Service Delivery Manager and the Operations Manager Kate Evans realised that, if the majority of the staff had registered energy efficiency savings as ideas then perhaps the Rosie Hospital was ripe for an energy awareness campaign. Clearly assistance was required in understanding energy, the carbon footprint and where energy could possibly be saved. A project team was formed including the two mentioned managers and the newly appointed Trust Energy Manager, Ian Jackson.
Working closely together, the team felt that, to raise awareness, there needed to be a service-wide understanding of energy cost –
not only financially but also to the cost of the carbon footprint. Clearly, the staff would need a tangible reason to switch off a light or printer and understand the effect of doing that. We agreed that if they could match the energy consumption to the services provided within the building they would be better placed to raise energy awareness and make some cost savings. At that time the team was not aware of the amount we would or could save.
The energy manager monitored energy usage of various items of medical machines within the Rosie, including ultrasound, foetal sonicade and a urodynamic device. PC’s and general lighting were also monitored. (See table).
We agreed that those energy statistics would be the best tool to promote energy saving ideas. In the same way that the Carbon Trust promotes energy saving ideas via what is normal day to day living, such as mapping switching off lights with cups of tea, the Trust Energy Manager set to work on mapping the statistics to similar strap lines. The key difference was that the hospital would promote a ‘service specific’ message.
The result included the following messages:
Did you know?
A computer left on uses more energy than a urodynamics machine
Did you know?
Switching off 12 lights for an hour saves enough energy to power an ultrasound machine for the same amount of time
Did you know?
Two lights left switched on constantly would power a foetal sonicade machine for an entire year
Remember, every £1 the Trust saves on Energy is a pound made available to treat somebody and less carbon put into the
The team’s puzzle was how to promote these ideas and make them stick! We commissioned durable light switch size plastic holders with bright backgrounds for the messages and placed them with a different key message under every light switch in the hospital. It was felt that staff when switching off would read the message, become more aware and switch off. The energy programme manager also guided the team towards changing to energy efficient light bulbs throughout the building.
Since the programme began
• 334 lights in the Rosie have been upgraded to more efficient ones saving an estimated £7,000 and 48 tonnes of carbon annually!
• Every light switch has a relevant strap line message displayed beneath it.
• The project team ran a very successful Energy Awareness day for staff and visitors to demonstrate the work and results.
• The Trust is launching a Trust-wide energy saving campaign based on the Rosie’s results. Estimated annual saving: £400,000
• On-going light upgrades
• Installing radiator valves (TRV’s) estimated to save a further £9,000 per annum!
• Ventilation plant and heating upgrade saving £10,000 per annum!
Many of the measures that can save energy are individually small and simple but if we all use them they combine to have a large impact.
The sustainability drive here is now big, and the great savings will go towards patient care, not to mention the carbon savings that will be great for us all.