Case study: Guy's and St Thomas' finds ideal sustainability solution

How a Building Energy Management System is helping Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust deliver operational improvements and cut energy costs

In order to enhance services provided to their outlying clinics and departments, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust invested in a Building Energy Management System (BEMS) from Trend Control Systems. As well as delivering the required operational efficiencies and enhancements, the investment quickly began to present an additional benefit in the form of a substantial reduction in energy use

The trust

With origins dating back almost 900 years, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is made up of two of London’s oldest and most well-known teaching hospitals. They merged in 1993 and went on to become one of the first NHS foundation trusts in July 2004.

The organisation is a multi-site estate providing a wide range of community services from 32 locations across Southwark, Lambeth and Lewisham, with buildings ranging in age from one to 150 years old.

The challenge

Traditionally, each building had been operated as a completely separate entity, with no cohesive, central management

David Crane, head of community contracts, says: “Traditionally, each building had been operated as a completely separate entity, with no cohesive, central management. In addition, most of them didn't have a dedicated on-site facilities manager to look after the building services infrastructure, such as the heating, lighting, ventilation and hot and cold running water. This lack of visibility made it very difficult to maintain a high-quality patient care and working environment.

“The time spent travelling to, and attending, the sites was also an issue as, in the event of a problem, multiple visits would often be required to identify and then subsequently rectify any issues. This meant there was enormous pressure on time, financial and human resources – a situation that had to be resolved.”

With the main objectives being to reduce the amount of time and money spent on travel and repeat visits, as well as the need to deal with issues in a pro-active, rather than reactive, way, Crane was convinced that a centrally managed estate would be the way forward. He contacted Beckenham-based BEMS specialist and Trend Systems Integrator, Siemsatec, to explain the problem and discuss what could be done to address it.

The solution

Nick Chinnery, director at Siemsatec, said: “With many years of experience in the specification, installation and maintenance of BEMS and maximising the effectiveness of the controlled environment, the issues that David wanted to overcome were nothing new to us. While BEMS have become synonymous with energy efficiency, the technology that is embedded within Trend’s products is intended to make day-to-day operations more streamlined. I was certain that a centrally-managed system based around a Trend 963 Supervisor would offer the perfect solution.”

The Trend 963 Supervisor is a graphical, real-time user interface that enables users to monitor specific activities and make any necessary changes. Peter Moore, Trend’s key account manager, said: “For Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust it is a vital component of the BEMS as it brings all the information from about 32 separate sites to one location and enables David and his team to identify any problems and qualify them before dispatching an engineer. What’s more, it enables the built environment and associated building services to be monitored in real time so that changes can be made where necessary. Furthermore, individuals are only presented with information and functions that are relevant to their authority or task, ensuring that consistent standards of operation are maintained.”

The BEMS has allowed us to become a far-more-efficient organisation and the close co-operation between us, Trend and Siemsatec has resulted in a solution that stands as an exemplar of what can be achieved

The system was initially trialled over four sites, which allowed Siemsatec to configure a workable template that could be rolled out to other locations.

Chinnery said: “This was a really useful exercise as it allowed us to work closely with the IT department and allay any concerns regarding security and bandwidth provision. We set up the 963 Supervisor’s software and graphical user interface to make sure that David could access all the information he needed. It was a real partnership between us all, which was helped by the client having clearly defined objectives and Trend’s technical support personnel always being on hand whenever we needed them.”

The entire building management operation is now one step ahead of any building services issues. Crane explains: “The number of fault calls we received dropped dramatically once the new system was in place – almost overnight. This is simply because we can now see in advance whether there are any problems and the nature of the issue and react to it immediately.

“For instance, the 963 Supervisor is checked first thing in the morning so, if necessary, we can have engineers resolving problems before our clients even know there is an issue. A resolution is most often resolved remotely via the 963, so engineers only need attend remote sites when absolutely necessary and, on the rare occasion when we do need to attend, the faults are resolved during the first visit, so multiple journeys are a thing of the past.”

Siemsatec also has remote access to the system so it can remedy problems without Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust incurring a call-out charge.

With less time and money now being spent on remedial works, the trust can redirect these savings to other areas of the operation, such as improving building fabric, upgrading insulation of existing buildings and developing new facilities.

As expected, the BEMS has also led to significant energy savings and a more-efficient use of this resource by adjusting setpoints to account for occupancy and seasonal patterns. For example, an internal study was carried out, which showed that in the first year of operation 350,000kW/h of gas was saved and there was also a 16% overall improvement in energy consumption and a 9% carbon reduction, helping Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust meet its environmental and corporate social responsibility (CSR) based objectives.

Crane said: “Compliance, resilience and sustainability are all important issues for healthcare estates and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is no exception. The BEMS has allowed us to become a far-more-efficient organisation and the close co-operation between us, Trend and Siemsatec has resulted in a solution that stands as an exemplar of what can be achieved. I hope other similar organisations benefit from our experience.”

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