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Health board to cut its energy bill by £100,000 per year

Hywel Dda University Health board has launched an innovative, yet simple ‘Switch it off’ campaign to help drastically reduce both its energy usage and costs.

The campaign consists of ‘switching off’ all non-essential equipment when not in use; from computer monitors and laptops to medical equipment, lights, and radiators. This is one of the several initiatives being delivered as part of Hywel Dda’s Decarbonisation Delivery Plan. All of which are aimed at helping to reduce energy costs and CO2 emissions for non-essential equipment by around 20%, which could save around £100,000 per year.

From March 2022 to April 2023, the health board reported spending almost £14 million on energy, producing more than 20 million kg in CO2 emissions. It was evident action needed to be taken to meet its targets to reduce emissions to just 34% by 2030 as set out in the NHS Wales Decarbonisation Strategic Delivery Plan.

Sarah Thorne, Senior One Health Practitioner at Hywel Dda, who has been leading on the implementation of the campaign said: “The ‘Switch-it-off’ campaign is something we expect everyone across the health board and hospital to get involved in. If we all work together, we will see those changes immediately.

“While analysing our energy usage, we discovered that leaving just one TV or PC monitor on standby, instead of switching it off, can waste almost £25 of electricity per year. We have over 6000 screens across the hospital and offices within the health board so if everyone switched off their screen when they weren’t using it, it could help to save a huge amount of money, while also reducing CO2 emissions. It is simple actions like this that will have a massive impact.”

As well as launching the ‘Switch it off’ campaign, the health board has benefitted from Estates Funding Advisory Board (EFAB) funding and Salix funding to support the delivery of a range of decarbonisation projects such as roof mounted Photovoltaics (PV), heat pumps, and solar canopies. It has also made a start in switching its lightbulbs to LED energy saving ones and is planning to install light sensors in communal areas such as toilets and kitchens. Earlier this year, the health board also received funding to install its own solar farm which provides sustainable electricity to power some services, reducing carbon emissions and promoting biodiversity in the area.

Huw Irranca-Davies, Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change said:

“The ‘Switch it off’ campaign from Hywel Dda is a great example of how organisations can inspire and empower their staff to work together to reduce both carbon emissions, energy usage, costs, and our impact on the environment.

“If everyone could do their bit by ‘switching off’ unnecessarily appliances, it would make a huge difference to the amount of energy we use, which will in turn help us to create a cleaner, greener Wales.”

The Welsh Government has committed to taking action on climate change. Since 2019, the Welsh Government has helped people access greener energy choices. Investing £120million in energy efficiency improvements to social housing through the Optimised Retrofit programme, helping around 148,000 people to live in homes that are cheaper and more efficient to run. The Nest scheme has supported tens of thousands of people to improve the energy efficiency of their home, while in turn reducing energy bills and improving health and wellbeing.

The Welsh Government has also backed flagships schemes such as Ripple Energy’s Wind turbine cooperative, Morriston Hospital’s solar farm and Pobl’s Penderi shared energy initiative, which has seen a community generate and share its own renewable energy. Pilots like these pave the way for similar projects in the future, enabling more people to save money on their energy.