Barts Health saves over 480 million liters of water and cuts costs by £960,000

Bart's Health installed Automatic Meter Reading equipment to all its 47 water meters and trained key personnel to identify and quickly deal with changes in usage.

Winner in the 2degrees Champions Awards 2014

Every year Barts Health use 815,434,800 liters of water, enough to fill 3 million baths (2174 swimming pools or 326 Olympic size swimming pools) and at a cost of £2m. Water is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity in the UK, with desalination plants having to clean sea water to fulfill the populations demand. Yet water plays an important part in us keeping out patients safe and well; from hydration of patients whilst they are in our hospitals to preventing diseases through regular hand washing. It is also an essential part of the hospitals heating and cooling systems.

The direct carbon emissions from our water use account for 391 tonnes of CO2e a year, but the wider environmental impacts are far greater. As part of our commitment to improving the environmental performance of our buildings and reducing our environmental impacts we joined forces with water specialists ADSM to start to address and reduce our impact.

What did you do?

We started with the basics on the premise that you can't reduce what you can't measure, so we installed Automatic Meter Reading equipment to all our 47 water meters. This allowed us complete visibility of our usage and allowed us to quickly investigate any abnormalities e.g. dealing with leaks, quickly and effectively. We then monitored and evaluated our usage and were able to implement a series of suitable water saving measures across our site. This included urinal controls and taps restrictors, as well as leak detection systems. The partnership approach allowed us to do this at zero capital cost to the organization. Key personnel, such as maintenance staff, were trained to identify and quickly deal with changes in usage, cutting excess losses and raising awareness. Innovative solutions such as sustainable urban drainage and rain water harvesting were explored to deliver improved water efficiency to our sites.

What was the result?

To date, the project has saved well over 480 million liters of water and counting; that's equivalent to every Londoner cutting their usage by 10% - and over £960,000 in avoided cost. The partnership has helped to raise awareness of the importance of water conservation and to provide the skills necessary for key staff to be able to take immediate action to rectify issues. In addition the partnership has supported water aid, helping hundreds of thousands of people out of water poverty (over 472,000 in total) in some of the poorest and water stressed communities in Bangladesh, Mali, India and Tanzania. For every m3 of water we save it directly benefits those in developing countries. The success of the project and the knowledge derived from the partnership has helped drive the creation of complex algorithms and analysis that create better assessments for other hospital sites wanting to become more water efficient.

The personal pitch

This is the largest water saving project in the NHS. Since 2009 we have worked with ADSM to create a partnership which delivers measurable and transparent results that are replicable across both the NHS and private sector organisations.Our work has delivered: Improved skills to our workforce, Savings of over 480 million liters of water to date, Cut costs by £960,000 per annum, Saved 391 tonnes CO2e per annum, Improved the visibility of our usage, Demonstrated the benefits of addressing water consumption and Helped assist over 472,000 people out of water poverty. The project continues to deliver positive changes, reducing our impact on the environment and conserving a scarce resource for the future.

Which suppliers, contractors, solutions or consultants helped to make the project a success?

The project was delivered in partnership between Barts Health NHS Trust and ADSM, through the Aquafund.

For all the details read the case study.

This article forms Bart’s Health's submission into the Water Management category of the 2degrees Champions Awards 2014.