The cost and carbon cutting challenges for UK residential care homes
A UK report outlines in stark terms the challenges for residential care homes in the move towards a sustainable green business culture.
The residential care sector is responsible for putting out around 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere annually and consumes £1.07 billion worth of natural resources. To put it another way, this carbon footprint is much the same as that of a small country, according to the report by Nottingham Energy Partnership.
Sustainable care homes are clearly an area in which rapid positive change can be achieved and the pressures to do so are growing all the time. There is a multinational political process, reinforced by the UK government’s Climate Change Act, which aims for a cut of 80% in CO2 emissions by 2050.
Yes – we think that this long-term view is needed but at the same time lacks immediacy. However, the Government wants to make more rapid progress and is pushing for a national target of 35% reduction (below 1990 levels) within seven years.
We know that the UK is witnessing unprecedented growth in its older population with the consequent increase in consumption of natural resources. And public sector budgets will continue to be squeezed hard for the foreseeable future, which means one thing – nursing homes will need to find agile ways to cut their costs without an impact on care.
The NEP report focuses on residential care and gives shows examples of how to reduce bills, cut waste, improve energy efficiency and enhance the environment in ways that can also improve health and wellbeing. At SaveMoneyCutCarbon, we believe that residential care homes can make substantial savings and reduce their carbon footprints with “green” strategies informed by sound, practical and effective advice.
Working with a trusted partner, nursing homes would be able to achieve the kind of savings in both energy costs and CO2 output that we are enabling with some of the biggest hotel groups in the UK. In a sense, residential care homes are much like hotels in their energy consumption and carbon producing activity.
We mean no disrespect when we say that these essential businesses provide 24/7 services and could be likened to a hotel that runs at full occupancy all the time. If we take this view a step further, then the “green” hospitality strategies can be refocused for the residential care home sector, and similar extraordinary savings would be achieved.
From lighting to heating, including ventilation and boiler management, and water consumption, there are simple, effective decisions that care home managements can take right now. In lighting, residential care home businesses can save up to 85% on their lighting energy costs and a similar amount on their water bills for example.
The investment in LED lighting and eco water-saving solutions (like eco showerheads, tap aerators, flow restrictors and efficient taps), is proven in the hospitality environment and the return on that investment is assured within a year. Why not talk to us now on 0845 123 5464 about ways to achieve savings in energy and water bills, as well as substantially reducing your carbon footprint?
For care home managers, the long term implications here are significant. According to the NEP report, around 420,000 frail older people, 0.65% of the UK population were living in care homes, or long-stay hospitals five years ago.
UK population projections suggest this figure will be 1,200,000 by the time the older population peaks in 2071. NEP notes: “In 2008/9, energy use in residential homes accounted for around £468.5million and around 2.3million tonnes of CO2e. This is equivalent to the carbon footprint of the country of Eritrea.
“In 2008/9, residential homes also accounted for around £505million in food costs, generating around 622,250 tonnes of CO2e. Annual pharmacy waste from UK care homes, amounts to a value of product of around £49 million and up to 28,764 tonnes of CO2”.
If you have any questions or want to find out more about our money saving, carbon cutting solutions, just contact us or call us on 0845 123 5464.