Date of release: Monday, February 6, 2017

Medway Maritime HospitalMillions of pounds could be saved in NHS energy bills thanks to the research of a University of Greenwich student.

Ahmad Taha is a key member of a landmark project being launched by Medway NHS Foundation Trust to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint.

PhD student Ahmad is looking at ways in which savings can be made on electricity consumption at Medway Maritime Hospital.

Approximately £2.5 million is currently spent each year on the hospital's energy usage. The aim of the project is to cut this by between ten and 20 per cent by October 2018, which could amount to a saving of up to £492,000. The Trust would then be looking to achieve similar, or better, savings each year.

It is believed this is the first time an NHS Trust has forged a partnership with a higher education institution to deliver such significant energy savings within a hospital environment.

A member of the university's Faculty of Engineering & Science, Ahmad, 25, says the project is giving him a wonderful opportunity to contribute to what he calls 'an essential issue for society'. "It's exciting as this project will have a real impact on the ways in which the NHS thinks about its energy consumption," he says.

"We want to see how we can use technology to educate and motivate staff, so that everyone can play their part. This is a relatively new area of research that could be replicated across the globe."

Ahmad will be leading a comprehensive evaluation of energy consumption across Medway Maritime Hospital, including both clinical and administrative areas. New technology in electricity sub-metering will be used to monitor the usage in different areas of the hospital.

As part of the project, ward managers in clinical areas will be sent alerts when they have exceeded expected levels. The ward manager will receive an alert via a tablet or smartphone to inform them that they used more gas or electricity than anticipated. They can then take steps to reduce their energy consumption by turning off any unnecessary equipment, lighting or devices that will not impact on patient safety or experience.

While the focus of the project is on electricity, the technology can be replicated later on to achieve savings in the hospital's gas and water consumption, too.

Dr Anthony Emeakaroha, Energy and Sustainability Manager for Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We're very excited to have got this project off the ground and are delighted to be working in partnership with our local university.

"We know that people are naturally responsive to smart phones and tablets, for example. We will be looking to tap into that by introducing similar technology to make the process of saving energy that bit more engaging and appealing. This will also save the Trust a huge amount of money in the long run."

The first monitoring period will start in October 2017, with the first year's results due in October 2018.

Ahmad is based within the university's Department of Engineering Science. Dr Ruiheng Wu, his supervisor, is the project's chief investigator.

To find out more about studying with the Faculty of Engineering & Science, at the Medway Campus: http://www.gre.ac.uk/engsci/about/welcome

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Medway Maritime Hospital