In the modern age, it’s hard to get away from the topic of climate change and energy efficiency. Whilst most of us generally accept and acknowledge the issue, few of us understand how we can practically engage in helping the environment.
In a busy medical practice where care takes priority, this is only exaggerated. Energy alternatives can be a minefield, negotiating contracts can be daunting, and new legislation can prove to be a mystery.
This is a problem Carol Willis, Practice Manager for Queensway Medical Centre in Northampton, knew only too well. After moving from a single storey surgery in 2013, Carol was faced with the challenge of sourcing new energy contracts for a modern building, whilst simultaneously having to ensure energy was being used efficiently.
‘We moved into this building in 2013, previous to this we were in a single storey building. As a new practice manager, I had no idea how to go about even sourcing gas and electric contracts.’
Already a daunting task for a practice manager, Carol was also tasked with ensuring the practice was operating in an energy efficient way in compliance with government legislation.
The builders of the new premises had set up temporary supply contract in their name to so Carol contacted Untied Utilities, who she had been using for several years as they specialise in energy for the medical sector.
With a choice of multiple providers, Carol eventually decided to contact Untied Utilities, as we specialise in energy for the medical sector. Whilst helping Carol to negotiate contracts, we introduced the idea of installing a real time energy monitoring system in her practice. Similar to monitoring systems commonly installed in homes, larger scale systems work for practices by allowing practice managers to directly see the impact of their operational behaviour on energy usage and cost.
But just how much is leaving that lightbulb on, or keeping your computer monitor idling costing your practice?
Ian Clark, Marketing Manager for NetThings energy monitoring systems believes this can have quite a dramatic effect: ‘It’s shocking how much energy is wasted when buildings and offices are closed. According to statistics, 46% of small and medium sized business’ utility bills were outside of office hours. We believe this is comparable with medical practices, and when you think about that, how much of it is waste?’
As part of a pilot for usage of the monitoring system in medical practices, we visited the Queensway Medical Centre alongside members of the NetThings team. The aim of the visit was to get a direct insight into just how effective monitoring systems can be in the medical sector.
Our Managing Director and medical practice energy expert, Andrew Sutton said: ‘At the moment the product is gathering information on how people are behaving with regards to energy usage, before they’re aware of any system – with only the practice manager knowing it’s installed. Therefore, people will continue in their normal day to day activities, which acts as a barometer for how much energy the practice will be saving when people are made aware of their impact.’
After the period of monitoring energy usage, the next part of the process involves training the Practice Manager as an ‘energy champion’. They will be shown various things they can do to reduce energy usage with the vision of gaining a much greener environment simply by limiting wastage.
With endless options available to help your building become greener, it’s worth bearing in mind that simply becoming more aware of your energy usage can save you between 10% and 15% on your energy bill.
For more information about energy management or the NetThings energy monitoring system, contact Untied Utilities today.