Tackling energy costs with optimised retrofit and design

Niall Gibson, building performance expert at IES, discusses how care home operators can make crucial energy savings through informed design, operational efficiency, and retrofitting

The care home sector has been plagued by rising energy costs, with care home heating bills soaring by 500 per cent in the past year alone according to Care England. As a result of crippling running costs, a third of care homes have considered closure in the past 12 months. 

Care homes are energy-intensive environments, with requirements to keep residents warm and comfortable and power crucial medical equipment, alongside the need to ensure natural ventilation as part of important post-pandemic measures. The need to operate 24-hours a day leads to high energy consumption and it is not possible to simply turn off the heating or lights to save on bills.

While energy costs are now one of the largest overheads for operators, the sector has also been battling other challenges, including staff shortages and inflated food costs, meaning that budgets are having to stretch beyond capacity. Some operators have made the difficult decision to cut staff numbers, delay building maintenance, and reduce entertainment, but residents’ quality of life and comfort should not need to be sacrificed in order to pay rising bills.

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