Applicability, potential and limitations of staff-centred energy conservation initiatives in English hospitals
Increasing energy costs and climate change legislation have prompted efforts to reduce energy consumption in UK hospitals. In addition to technological conservation strategies focussing on buildings and building services, staff-centred initiatives such as energy awareness campaigns are increasingly being considered by National Health Service (NHS) trusts due to their potential cost-effectiveness. However, hospitals are complex buildings with unique energy requirements, and it is unclear to what extent these requirements are influenced by clinical staff. This paper combines a review of staff-centred energy conservation initiatives in organisations in general and in hospitals in particular with the results of a survey-based study among NHS energy managers (N = 70). The study findings highlight that staff-centred energy conservation initiatives are currently of interest to a majority of NHS trusts in England and may become an increasingly important part of carbon reduction strategies in hospitals in the future. Policy assumptions regarding their savings potential, however, appear to be undifferentiated, and it seems advisable to relate behavioural efforts more closely to the physical context of the respective hospital building and its service infrastructure as well as the health care processes relevant to different departments.
KeywordsHospitals Energy managers Energy behaviours NHS Organisational energy use Energy awareness
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