NHS hospital reduces its carbon footprint and electricity bills following the installation of solar panels and energy efficient lighting

A hospital has drastically reduced its electricity bill by a third while also substantially lowering its carbon footprint with the installation of solar panels and energy efficient lighting.

The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (RJAH), in Oswestry, Shropshire, has had 1,760 solar panels fitted along with its entire lighting upgraded to LEDs.

It is estimated the trust is now saving over £217,000 annually, while also reducing carbon emissions by over 809 tonnes of carbon per year as it pivots towards a net zero carbon future.

Nick Huband, Director of Estates and Facilities at RJAH, said: “It’s massively important for us to be more sustainable and efficient.

“The target is to get to net zero but it’s not an insurmountable task – it’s a big ask. It is doable but there is significant capital investment required and a different way of thinking more importantly as well.

“Solar panels are really important to this strategy. Not just the financial return but also the offset against the carbon tonnage is huge.

“All the external lighting has been replaced with energy efficient LED lighting, along with all the internal lighting in the wards and the theatres.

“There has been a big fall in energy usage. We’re expecting a £200,000 year reduction in costs on our energy costs – it’s a significant saving.”

The RJAH was able to carry out the work thanks to Salix Finance, which provides Government funding to the public sector to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and lower energy bills.

With the help of Salix, the Trust unlocked £1.2 million in funding for the project – with the panels and lighting reducing electricity bills by a third.

The hospital, which has an international reputation for orthopaedic surgery and musculoskeletal medicine, is now exploring the possibility of adding two further rows of solar panels which it estimates will reduce energy bills by a further £65,000 per year.

It is one of several initiatives the hospital is looking at as it works towards a more sustainable future. This includes installing more charging stations for electric car drivers and planting trees to offset emissions.

Nick Huband said: “We couldn’t have done this without Salix as it is so difficult to get capital funding via the NHS. We’ve put ourselves forward for things like European funding and been unsuccessful and similarly with NHS funding so without the support of Salix this work wouldn’t have happened.

“We’re looking at some more radical ideas like solar panels on the roof of the car park. The drive to reduce emissions is really well supported here – there is a lot of buy-in from our executives which helps with schemes like this.

“It’s not just about LED lighting and solar panels. We have some green sites which, due to a number of restrictions, we can’t build on or sell so we’re looking at ways to offset our carbon by planting trees.

“We can then create walk routes through so patients and visitors can enjoy it while we try to achieve zero carbon.”

Salix has now helped fund almost 19,000 projects to the tune of £1 billion – saving the public sector £203 million per year on its bills.

It is estimated the work carried out across the UK via Salix’s platform has reduced carbon emissions by almost 867,864 tonnes.

Sameen Khan, Programme Manager for the NHS Programme at Salix, added: “More than ever before, we want to support our NHS services and the patient and staff environment at the Hospitals across the country. The Salix funding can help decrease operational costs which can be re-allocated for patient care.”