£2.4m grant to improve hospital heating system

Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust given Energy Fund grant to replace ageing coal-fired steam boiler plant at Fairfield General Hospital

The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has been awarded a grant of £2.4m from the Government’s Energy Fund to replace Fairfield General Hospital’s ageing coal-fired steam boiler plant with a new modern gas hot water system.

In January 2013, the Government announced its intention to support the NHS by allocating a £50m capital fund for 2013-14 to fund new and innovative projects to improve energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of the NHS.

As a result, all trusts across the country were invited to submit bids to support them in achieving energy and carbon reductions as set out in the NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy for England.

Our NHS is one of the largest users of energy in the country and, just like the rest of us, hospitals should be doing everything they can to reduce the amount they spend

The Pennine Acute Trust, which runs Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, has been successful in its bid to build a new, more environmentally- friendly, gas low pressure hot water system and a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit.

Traditionally, electricity is generated at centralised power stations with an efficiency in the region of 40%. Further losses are incurred in the transmission systems of around 5%, giving a resultant efficiency of 35%. By using a Combined Heat and Power Unit (CHP) system, the trust can expect to achieve an efficiency of up to 85%.

This scheme alone will reduce the emissions from the Fairfield site by 53%, saving around £600,000 a year.

To help deliver the scheme, the trust is working with Ellesmere Engineering.

John Wilkes, director of facilities at the trust, said: “We are delighted to be awarded this grant from the Government’s Energy Fund. This is excellent news, not only for the staff and the patients we treat here at Fairfield General Hospital, but to the local population and communities surrounding the hospital site.

As you would imagine, the running of hospitals is very expensive, not only in maintenance but in power. Not only will the new gas boiler be much more efficient, it will bring other benefits by helping to provide a cleaner site by removing the soot and coal dust emissions from the existing boiler plant. We are also keen to use this capital investment to enlist the work and expertise of local companies in Manchester to help us in our efforts to further reduce our carbon footprint.”

Health Minister, Dr Dan Poulter, added: “Winter is fast approaching and we are all looking at ways to reduce our energy bills while keeping our homes warm and well lit. Our NHS is one of the largest users of energy in the country and, just like the rest of us, hospitals should be doing everything they can to reduce the amount they spend.

These schemes demonstrate the easy ways our NHS can make improvements to help power hospitals more efficiently, save on energy bills, and reduce carbon emissions

“These schemes demonstrate the easy ways our NHS can make improvements to help power hospitals more efficiently, save on energy bills, and reduce carbon emissions. Money saved will be re-invested directly in to patient care.”

Engineering work has now started at Fairfield and is expected to be completed by the end of July 2014.

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