Steam system improvements help hospitals save money and improve efficiencies

New White Paper shows healthcare sector how to improve the energy efficiency of steam systems, reduce risk, and cut emissions

Technologies such as Spirax EasiHeat can deliver up to 20% energy savings compared to conventional steam-to-water heating systems

A new White Paper from Spirax Sarco shows how hospitals and healthcare institutions can improve the energy efficiency of their steam systems, reduce risk, and cut emissions in order to help meet NHS targets.

The UK’s NHS aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. Substantial reductions have already been made, yet a 28% reduction is still required to align with the Climate Change Act target of a 34% reduction by 2020.

Using steam to provide hot water for space heating and domestic duties such as handwashing and cleaning, as well as for sterilisation, is a significant contributor to the overall energy bill in the UK healthcare sector. Yet there is huge potential to save thousands of tonnes of emissions per year through the application of existing and innovative steam system technologies. The investments needed are relatively low and even small-scale projects can reap surprisingly-high returns.

The White Paper outlines the options available and gives examples of the potential savings that can be achieved. Examples include replacing conventional hot water calorifiers with the latest compact steam-to-hot-water on demand systems, and improving systems to maximise the return of condensate to the boiler feedtank.

Steam plant accounts for a significant amount of the sector’s fuel consumption, yet there are many conventional ways and innovative technologies available to improve steam system energy efficiency

It also includes several case studies, which reveal the energy and cost savings hospitals around the UK have achieved by investing in new technologies. For example, Medway Maritime Hospital has shaved 2%-3% off its main boilerhouse energy bill with the installation of an automated system for boiler blowdown; and Eastbourne District General Hospital’s new endoscopy unit has met NHS emissions guidelines by using a packaged steam-to-hot-water solution to supply hot water for space heating and handwashing.

In addition. Noble’s Hospital laundry is saving more than £14,500 a year in energy, water and treatment chemicals, following the installation of a system to capture energy in condensate and flash steam to preheat boiler feedwater.

The document states: “Faced with stringent emissions targets, the NHS and the wider healthcare sector is maintaining a sharp focus on finding ways to improve its overall energy efficiency, whether that means upgrading existing facilities and operational practices or installing new technologies.

“Steam plant accounts for a significant amount of the sector’s fuel consumption, yet there are many conventional ways and innovative technologies available to improve steam system energy efficiency.

“A good starting point for getting the most out of any steam system is a simple ‘walk the plant’ assessment by a qualified and experienced engineer, who will quickly spot potential areas for improvement. These may range from a major project to easy-to-implement and relatively low-cost improvements that can bring huge savings in fuel bills, maintenance work and carbon emissions – all with a rapid payback.”

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