Kevin Cox calls on FM & EM professionals to “Learn, educate, share and make sustainability pay its way”
Energys Group is the UK’s leading supplier and installer of retrofit low-carbon technologies to major projects for public sector agencies, including NHS, MOD and education.
As experts and key advisors to the public sector, we’ve taken a close look at the recent edie Sustainability Report to digest the key messages for public-sector energy and sustainability managers.
Here’s where we are: the bad news
According to the report (link), The UK’s public sector is at a crossroads. A perfect storm of biting austerity, stalled wage growth and intense political upheaval has instilled a feeling of uncertainty across the landscape.
To deal with the ongoing austerity bite, greater investment will be required by public sector bodies to scale-up onsite sustainability solutions, roll-out more sustainable products and services, and embed sustainability throughout organisational structures.
By taking a sensible approach to long-term investment in more efficient operations, public bodies must deliver services at lower cost whilst continuing to benefit the community and local economy and providing greater value to the taxpayer.
How do we do this?
Learning from the best: NHS inspires
More than two-fifths 44% of survey respondents recognised the need to learn from sustainability best-practice from public sector bodies, cities and regions across the globe.
When asked which organisation provides the most inspiration to drive forward with corporate sustainability, several edie survey respondents specifically referenced the NHS’s successful and influential Sustainable Development Unit, which is helping to coordinate carbon reduction across the organization.
- Inspiration: £414m predicted NHS savings each year by 2020 through resource and energy efficiency programmes
Educate: cut costs without affecting key services
The health sector in particular has taken great strides to implement sustainability projects which generate economic savings. Many NHS Trusts have taken advantage of the Carbon and Energy Fund (CEF) framework, with the aim of cutting costs without impinging on patient care.
An energy efficiency programme at Salford Royal Hospital in Greater Manchester, is anticipated to slash £1.9m from the hospital’s annual energy bill.
Share: engagement & expertise
Asked what one thing would make their job easier, many participants focused on a need to boost levels of internal engagement, with responses ranging from “more senior management buy-in and leadership” to “a collective approach to implementing sustainability across the whole organisation’s activities”.
“We know that the NHS and health sector is facing its greatest financial challenge, and we need to seize every opportunity to realise savings and efficiencies. We don’t have to choose between saving money and protecting the environment – we can make decisions that will do both as well as improve people’s health.” David Pencheon, director of the Sustainable Development Unit, NHS.
Ministers have long been implored to meet with leading Trusts to establish how this best-practice can be shared nationally. Campaigners claim the NHS could free up significant funds for front-line services if the Government lent its support to develop low-carbon measures.
Take the lead
Energys Group Managing Director, Kevin Cox reiterates his call for NHS facilities managers, energy managers and Trust chiefs to take the lead in making their estates more energy efficient, and return the savings to where there is the most need – patient care.
“There is no argument from us that staff at the NHS do crucial work, whether on the front-line caring for, transporting and supporting patients directly, or in the critical, unseen and unheralded back-room services, such as administration, maintenance, HR and finance.
“But there is more to be done to ensure that those who work in this 24-hour, 365 days a year service, are not paying the price for their care, in poor working conditions, inefficient buildings and at increased risk to their own health and wellbeing. The NHS needs to look after itself in order that it can look after the public.”
We hoped you enjoyed this article? Check out more of our energy policy articles here. Please drop us a line if you’d like to chat about any of the issues and themes covered or to find out more about our energy saving technologies.