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Keeping hospital lights on by switching them off

The health sector has a lot to gain from creating smarter buildings.


The Centre for Sustainable Energy recently found that UK hospitals are one of the highest average carbon dioxide emitters in the country. In fact, energy along makes up almost one quarter of the National Health Service (NHS) carbon footprint. This Accenture report discusses new ways for hospitals to optimize their energy usage, with no capital outlay, to both reduce their carbon footprint and cut estate operating costs by up to 35 percent.

Key steps such as upgrading of boilers, insulation and lighting can make a huge difference, as demonstrated by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Trust, which reportedly spent more than £10 million on energy in 2004 alone, but has managed annual savings of £1.7 million a year by investing in energy efficiency projects. No responsible facilities, property or financial manager can afford to ignore the opportunities presented by smarter building management.


Complex smart building projects should be undertaken with care. Accenture’s view is that three to six months is a realistic timeframe after which to expect benefits to be realized, using an assessment-based, insight-driven approach. Non-invasive yet comprehensive assessments should lead to tangible recommendations that deliver these results.

Accenture’s recommendations include:

  • Team with expert advisors to gain a holistic view on how an organization can improve building operations.

  • Leverage technology to collect data from all relevant building systems.

  • Integrate building management systems with legacy systems to help drive continuous improvement through an iterative process.

  • Analyse data collected from new and legacy systems to drive further savings.

Effective data-focused smart building management systems lower building operating costs by up to 35 percent.