At last, it seems that businesses are no longer questioning whether climate change is an existential threat and instead deciding how best to tackle it. A huge organisation such as the NHS – the biggest employer in the UK – has the potential to make a huge difference and has already announced its goal of becoming a net zero carbon organisation. The success of the NHS programme will depend crucially on the changes and gains to be made at the detailed operational level. The programme has outlined how digitally enabled care models will significantly cut carbon emissions by reducing travel and journeys to physical healthcare locations, and how the use of LED lighting can contribute to a saving of 34 ktCO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent).
So what about water purification? Can better management make a difference? Well, water supplies are used heavily in hospitals, and wherever materials and processes are heavily used there is potential to make big steps along the road to net zero by increasing efficiency.
For example, if purified water is not being dispensed for a period of several hours or more, it makes sense to put the unit on standby to save both electricity and water. Units should not, however, be entirely idle in this ‘sleep’ mode, as some circulation is needed to discourage microbiological activity. SUEZ machines balance energy efficiency with safety via a sleep cycle that activates a 10-minute flushing programme every two hours. This intelligent standby option can impose the sleep cycle at any time that a set period has elapsed without water being dispensed.
Programming such as this is a costly service to buy in, so only manufacturers such as SUEZ with in-house code writing specialists and a commitment to keeping machine software up to date will consider it. But it’s advances such as this that can make a significant impact on energy consumption and another step towards a net zero NHS.