UK residential care homes need to respond to the end of an era of cheap energy
“The era of cheap energy is over.” With that rather direct, brutal even, statement, the UK government sends a clear signal to every residential care home in the country.
That Government statement is from one of its briefing papers, which clearly points to the need for greater efficiencies in the way we consume energy and water – and the two are joined at the hip.
Around half of all water used every day in buildings involves energy to heat, pump, remove, clean and recycle it and prices of electricity, gas, oil and water have increased for most of the past 10 years.
Millions more households are in fuel poverty – where more than 10 per cent of income is needed to heat a home – and spending on heating and power has increased by billions of pounds.
Energy companies need to invest very large sums in the network but a power supply squeeze is expected before the end of the decade and measures to cut carbon emissions will add to costs.
The Government warns: “There is little prospect of a sustained reversal in these trends. It is more likely that price increases will continue into the medium term at least.”
Average combined gas and electricity bills showed a 30% real increase in five years and energy and water bills will continue to rise well above inflation. In fact, you could say that, instead of two, there are only three things certain in life – death, taxes and utility bills rises.
Residential care homes are not immune from the continual price rises and, like other squeezed businesses seek to minimise the commercial damage caused by these increases. And because the Government has very little wriggle room on energy supply, it cannot make much impact on pricing.
This leaves energy efficiency as the major policy area which can reduce energy bills and fuel poverty. We expect that, because of these pressures, there will be new laws introduced within the next five years to make energy efficiency and carbon cutting a universal mandatory requirement.
Residential care homes are prime consumers of utilities all day, every day – we liken the operation to a fully-booked and busy hotel. They need the right advice to implement energy-saving, carbon-cutting strategies.
The targets for change are lighting, heat and water. Working with a trusted partner, care homes would be able to achieve the kind of savings in both energy costs and CO2 output that we are achieving with some of the biggest hotel groups in the UK.
Care homes should be planning towards a reduction in lighting, heating and water costs of up to 85%. Our experience of the hospitality sector shows that these savings are achievable within a short space of time.
The need for a trusted partner is very strong here and will help to deliver an end-to-end solution for care home managements who want to be sure that their sustainability strategies are implemented, are cost-effective and are efficient.
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. 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.
At SaveMoneyCutCarbon, we believe that residential care homes will make substantial savings and reduce their carbon footprints with “green” strategies informed by sound, practical and effective advice. 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..