Reliable energy supply for rural care

Why low-carbon Liquefied Petroleum Gas systems are increasingly the system of choice for the care home sector

Liquefied Petroleum Gas systems have a low carbon footprint

Featuring heavily in the news recently, it would be impossible not to recognise the multiple challenges faced by the care home industry, from ensuring compliance with the Care Standards Act, to dealing with the Government’s mooted cap on care funding.

Cold temperatures can be very dangerous to older people’s health, as they not only increase the likelihood and severity of flu and respiratory problems, but being cold also thickens the blood and increases blood pressure, heightening the risk of heart attacks and strokes

More-rural care homes that are located off the mains gas grid face the additional challenge of sourcing a suitable heating and fuel solution that will meet the needs of staff and residents while still offering a cost-effective solution.

Maintaining a consistent temperature is of paramount importance for care home owners as statistics show one older person dies every seven minutes in the winter months as a result of the cold.

A danger to health

Rob Shuttleworth, chief executive of UKLPG, the trade association for the liquefied petroleum gas industry, explains: “Cold temperatures can be very dangerous to older people’s health, as they not only increase the likelihood and severity of flu and respiratory problems, but being cold also thickens the blood and increases blood pressure, heightening the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

“No care home owner wants an unreliable heating system that may give out in the depths of winter, so a trustworthy fuel source is fundamental to the health of both residents and the business.”

For residential homes without access to natural gas central heating due to their location, low-carbon Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) can deliver the same reliable and convenient benefits as natural gas, however remote their position.

No care home owner wants an unreliable heating system that may give out in the depths of winter, so a trustworthy fuel source is fundamental to the health of both residents and the business

Shuttleworth said: “LPG offers almost the exactly the same functionality as natural gas, and yields 12% less CO2 than oil. Indeed, it performs well when compared to other traditional off-gas grid fuels, emitting 35% less CO2 than coal, almost no black carbon, low particle and NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions and low sulphur content. In addition, providing immediate and consistent heat, LPG ensures that ambient temperatures are quickly achieved and maintained.”

Because LPG behaves in exactly the same way as natural gas, it works well with some of the most-advanced energy-efficiency technology available.

Real impact

“Replacing old, inefficient and unreliable heating systems with a new LPG system enables managers to make a real impact on cost and carbon savings without compromising on the comfort of residents,” said Shuttleworth.

LPG also helps with catering in care homes as cooking on gas has always been the preferred choice for establishments that cater for large numbers of people, ensuring well-cooked food and reducing the risk of food poisoning among often-vulnerable residents.

For more-rural care homes, LPG’s low-carbon properties help to improve its green credentials, while at the same time its efficiency as an instant and clean fuel supply can greatly reduce running costs

Most modern systems can also be installed above or below ground and have built-in telemetry systems that alert the supplier when the fuel needs replenishing.

“For more-rural care homes, LPG’s low-carbon properties help to improve its green credentials, while at the same time its efficiency as an instant and clean fuel supply can greatly reduce running costs,” said Shuttleworth.

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