To get the ball rolling on the path toward a more energy-efficient care home, it’s important to have an energy assessment or audit done on the property. The results from the energy assessment will point out areas where the building is not performing ideally. The assessment will point out where changes can be made while still complying with building regulations.
From there, you can begin tackling each problem.
There are two main problems that are the primary culprit when it comes to buildings losing energy efficiency: heating and lighting.
When it comes to heating an average home, the recommended temperature to set is 21°C. However, the elderly and frail residents of care homes tend to lack mobility; therefore, this temperature might not be enough. It is pivotal to find a balance between manageable cost and optimal heating.
Effective energy efficiency improvements in heating are:
- Upgrade the boiler.
- Ensure that the building is fully insulated.
Most care centres that have been up and running for a few decades will most likely still use boilers that require oil or natural gasses to be heated. This older style of boiler is terribly wasteful and needs upgrading.
The upgrade’s cost may be expensive, but in the long run, studies have found that switching to a condensing gas boiler, for example, equates to energy efficiency improvements between 92 and 95%.
A house without insulation can lose up to 60% of its heat, with 35% coming through the walls and 25% coming through the roof. It’s for this reason that insulating your care home is paramount. You don’t want to lose any of that precious heat you are generating.
Loft insulation and cavity wall insulation are just two examples of what can be put up to help reduce the amount of heat lost by the building.
The 24/7 nature of a residential care home means that lighting is used all day, every day. It is an unavoidable cost of running the building, but that doesn’t mean it’s being used optimally.
Here are a few changes that could be implemented to reduce the overall lighting cost of running an old-age home.
A cost-effective way to light up the building during the day is to allow natural light to come in through the windows. Studies have shown that only 15 minutes of exposure to natural light can activate endorphins.
Having natural daylight streaming through the care facility is crucial for the mental well-being of residents who may not be mobile and, thus, can’t go outside.
Use light detectors throughout the facility for the times lighting can’t be avoided. By sensing when people are entering and leaving rooms, the sensor turns on and off the lights. This will reduce your energy consumption.
Getting LED lights also factor in to effective energy efficiency improvements. These light bulbs tend to use less electricity while still providing bright light.
Introduce renewable energy generation to your residential care homes
The best way to reduce your business electricity bill is to install renewable technology on your premises to help reduce your energy consumption. Installing solar panels on the roofs can help generate electricity for the building.
Plus, you may find that the solar panels are generating more electricity than the facility needs. You can sell the excess back to the energy provider. This is called a feed-in tariff.
Solar panels usually last 25 or more years, making them both environmentally friendly and an excellent investment for the future.
Install remote control and Smart Energy management technologies
Management of the energy consumption and lighting efficiency of care homes can be challenging but can be improved considerably through modern means.
Using smart energy management tools like smart thermostats and motion-sensing timers will provide efficiency that will repay your initial investment in no time.
You can also integrate remote monitoring into care management systems to collect data about the energy use at care homes and, in turn, help find more efficient ways to run them.