This is an EcoQUIP fast track project. The Trust initiated this complex multi--‐million Euro project under LCB-HEALTHCARE.
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest acute Trusts in the UK. The Trust faces unprecedented challenges associated with increasing energy costs; the pricing of carbon; the need for flexibility in building use in the face of changing healthcare provision; and the goal of a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions. Another problem facing the Trust is that they have a number of older, energy inefficient buildings, some of which are of heritage status.
For the last 35 years the primary source of heat to the City Site has been a coal-fired boiler, which is now coming to the end of its useful life. The Director of Estates and Facilities saw this as an opportunity to fundamentally rethink the Trust’s approach to energy and reduce the hospital’s carbon intensity, and in doing so, reduce exposure to rising energy prices, the pricing of carbon, and the impact of future low carbon legislation.
Over the next 25 years the healthcare sector and the Trust can expect considerable changes in the way it manages and delivers healthcare. In the shorter and medium term, Nottingham University Hospitals aims to move to Foundation Trust status This will result in shifts in healthcare provision and management. At the same time, the shift to a low carbon economy is expected to accelerate, with costs of energy and carbon increasing. The Trust will also face the challenges of climate change, which although unpredictable, could lead to greater requirements for internal climate control to maintain a safe and healing environment for patients. In such an environment there is an inherent value in flexibility of both the estate and energy provision.
Initially the Trust commissioned consultants to advise on the replacement of the site’s energy systems. The resulting recommendations, based primarily around large centralised energy generation on site, would deliver a significant one-time reduction in energy use and emissions, but would not necessarily achieve the long-term flexibility, carbon reductions, and reduced exposure to rising energy prices that the Trust requires. The project team agreed that new, more efficient Combined Heat and Power systems would only be part of the solution and that in isolation would not deliver the outcomes they were looking for. An innovative response was needed from the supply chain, and this meant that the Trust needed a new procurement approach to deliver an innovative ultra low carbon energy solution that was adaptable to future healthcare models.
The Trust have therefore set themselves the ambition to achieve more than a step-change reduction in energy demand and emissions; they want to reverse historical trends and deliver continuous efficiency improvements across the Trust over the next 20 years.
The project adopted the Forward Commitment Procurement method.
Having identified their unmet needs, the team developed a paper for approval by the Trust Board and CEO. Once this approval was in place they began a market sounding exercise which was launched via a Prior Information Notice outlining the draft requirement and the timelines for awarding a contract and sought feedback from the supply chain via a standardised response form. The main communication tool was a Market Sounding Prospectus. A webpage was developed to provide access to all the market engagement documents.
The project was actively communicated amongst suppliers and intermediaries and a site visit was attended by more than 100 suppliers and stakeholders. An Advisory Group meeting with external experts and the Department of Health was established to support the project team. An analysis of the 63 high quality responses received confirmed that taking a longer term strategic view of energy supply and consumption was both feasible from a market perspective and most resilient in terms of future uncertainties.
Three site energy development strategies emerged
Option A: retains the existing centralized energy architecture, upgrading the infrastructure.
Option B: moves to a fully decentralized system of energy provision.
Option C is a modular decentralized system comprising smaller scale localized flexible heat and power generation.
A strong message from the supply chain was that in order to inform further consultation with the supply chain and develop an effective procurement strategy the Trust needed to focus on one of these options and identify their preferential technology. Fuel Cell CHP had emerged as the lead technology that would best needs of the Trust going forward and further supply chain consultation led to the Trust commissioning a Feasibility Study and presenting the findings to the Board.
The procurement approach and technology options are currently being considered by the Board together with financing options. It is anticipated that the tender for an Ultra Low Carbon Energy Solution will be published early in 2014.
Contact details for the leader led project coordinator Andrew Camina
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