Innovative way of financing maintenance comes to NHS

Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust is embarking on a pioneering energy efficiency project with Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management, which is set to fund £2.5 million of backlog maintenance and save over £17million in reduced energy costs over the next 20 years.

The project, which is the first of its kind in the UK healthcare sector, will deliver substantial energy efficiency measures at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, freeing up funds for both backlog maintenance and reactive maintenance in future.  The project is fully self-funding, with the costs of replacing old energy inefficient infrastructure, equipment and the £2.5 million in essential estate projects financed by the fuel savings achieved, meaning there is zero cost to the tax payer.
The benefits of the energy efficiency measures are striking, with Musgrove Park Hospital’s average energy consumption set to be reduced by more than 40%, delivering a cut in carbon emissions by 43% – the best of any UK public sector organisation. 

At a time when Trusts are facing increasing budgetary risks due to volatile energy bills, the project couldn’t be timelier, says Jo Cubbon, chief executive of Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust:  “We are excited to be leading the way in introducing energy efficiency on this scale in the NHS.  We are part of the community here in Somerset and proud to be playing our part in making Somerset a truly green county.

”As one of the largest employers in Somerset we have a pivotal role in supporting the county’s green initiatives and I am delighted that we are taking the lead by introducing such an important energy saving scheme here in Taunton.” 

The project It is being funded through a £7.2 million capital investment provided by Schneider Electric through a 12-year capital borrowing facility, which includes energy monitoring and is backed by a long-term performance guarantee.  As part of the service, Schneider Electric conducted a comprehensive capital needs assessment and energy audit of the hospital. This enabled development of a programme that would deliver an effective energy management strategy combining the latest in energy saving technologies and practices to upgrade existing equipment, reduce maintenance expenses, lower utility bills, improve building comfort and reduce C02 emissions.

Dave Berardi, Managing Director of Schneider Electric’s Buildings Business in the UK and Ireland, said:

“This project offers a simple and effective solution to the ongoing challenge of financing backlog maintenance without taking funds away from frontline services. Aside from the manifest benefits in terms of energy savings, the investment in the fabric and infrastructure of the hospital will also help safeguard patient and staff safety and welfare, helping the Trust effectively manage risk over the long term.” 

“At a time when energy costs are significantly rising, if this solution was to be replicated across the entire NHS estate, it could result in energy savings of over £200 million. As such, we expect further Trusts to follow Musgrove Park Hospital’s innovative lead.”