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Hospital Energy Project brings sustainability for the future

This article is more than seven years old.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has commenced an 18-month £14.8 million project to upgrade the heating and hot water systems that supply the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals.

The project, called the Hospital Energy Project, is critical to ensure that energy systems at both hospitals are flexible enough to meet future growing demands for heating and hot water as hospital patient numbers increase, while facilities expand and improve. When fully completed, the new system will deliver a 45 percent reduction in annual energy costs and a 38 percent reduction in annual carbon emissions.

The Hospital Energy Project is the most complex NHS energy project in the UK and the largest NHS energy project of its kind currently underway at any NHS trust in England.

The new energy systems will offer both hospitals better resilience and less reliance on the national power grid in the high demand months of winter, as well as reduce carbon emissions from both sites with the ability to meet future environmental compliances. The project will reduce future disruption to patient care and services.

At the John Radcliffe Hospital the energy project will maximise the use of existing assets, utilise and expand the existing systems to minimise the capital cost of the project, with this element alone estimated as a saving of £1.1 million and a further £11 million back log maintenance saving will be achieved over the next two years. The current High Temperature Hot Water (HTWH) pipework and boilers will be decommissioned and replaced by more efficient steam and Low Temperature Hot Water (LTHW) pipework system. Asset management and automation to optimise the performance of the Combined Heat and Power plant (CHP) to generate the maximum savings to the Trust will be introduced.

At the Churchill Hospital improvements will see the replacement of old boilers with dual fuel boilers making use of the existing steam and LTHW distribution pipework, plus the installation of new pipework. A new steam generation plant will be installed.

Part of the Hospital Energy Project involves the laying of pipework which transfers heat and energy from the over-producing new efficient system at the John Radcliffe directly to the Churchill, a distance of some 2.2 km of pipework, with almost a negligible amount of heat lost over the transfer distance. The Trust is also using the opportunity to lay cable for data transfer between hospitals to meet increasing information technology requirements.

Funding for the project has been secured through the Carbon and Energy Fund (CEF) with  investment provided by Aviva. The project marks the start of an ongoing partnership between Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and contractors Vital Energi for a 25-year period. Over this period, Vital Energi has guaranteed the Trust savings of £2.3 million pounds on the cost of heating and energy supply.

In addition to the benefit of meeting future energy demands of the hospitals, the Trust will see a reduction in its carbon footprint: 270,000 tonnes over the 25-year period which equates to 3,000 cars off the road every year.

At its core the new technology optimises energy generation, conserves and controls what is used more efficiently and reduces excess outputs of temperature, lighting and air flows. Combined with new methods of monitoring, measuring and management the result is an efficiency and carbon management plan designed to create sustainability and viability for generations of patients to come.

Presenting the Hospital Energy Project, Director of Planning and Information at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Andrew Stevens, said: "This project will ensure that our hospitals are ready to meet growing demands for hot water and energy in the future and provide us better resilience. It will reduce our carbon footprint, increase energy efficiency and save costs.

"Updating our energy systems is important to allow us to continue to offer excellent and compassionate care to our patients. We understand disruption will occur in the installation phase and will work with our partner contractors Vital Energi to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum as they lay the Energy Link pipe. We would be most grateful for the cooperation and forbearance of our local residents and give our assurance to assist with addressing their concerns."

At both hospitals part of the Hospital Energy Project will see lighting upgrades with over 7000 light fittings to be replaced with more long-life and economical LED light fittings and bulbs.

Members of the public can see details of the Hospital Energy Project at:

or drop by one of the displays at either the JR or Churchill hospitals until October 2016.

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