Any sector with 24x7 operating requirements implicitly has high energy costs and in Aged Care, almost 50% of energy costs go to heating/cooling and lighting alone. In addition, most of the operators we speak to are aware that electricity costs will continue to rise - and your cost per bed will need to rise with this.
Of course, the problem is much of your operating costs come from staff costs; and particularly with Royal Commission reforms, most Aged Care facilities are left with very few levers to cut operating costs. In fact, StewartBrown accounting has estimated the number of aged care homes operating at a loss will increase to 70% by the end of this year.
As renewable energy specialists we have a passion for helping the Aged Care sector find savings without compromising the quality of your care – and the good news is, there’s three simple strategies you can employ to get your electricity costs down now.
1. Manage heating and cooling
In an audit of the Aged Care sector, Environment NSW noted outdoor temperature as the biggest driver of electricity use as it directly influences heating and cooling needs – which is 27% of electricity used in Aged Care. Simple measures such as internal curtains, window shading and draught protection make a big difference to how much heating/cooling is required. It is also worth reviewing your ceiling insulation to ensure this is not contributing to higher bills.
2. Lighting – make the switch
Modern LED lights reduce energy consumption significantly, in fact up to 50% less energy is consumed. They also have a longer lifespan compared to traditional lights which results in less maintenance costs, and greater comfort and safety for your residents with improved lighting reliability.
3. Solar – energy from the sun
There has been a significant move to solar in the Aged Care sector as a way to dramatically reduce operating costs, with no impact to residents or staff. And savings are immediate – from day one you will reduce your electricity from day one.
How much you save will require a tailored assessment from a reputable firm, and will differ depending on your facility/ies (size, shade, usage etc) however it is not uncommon for our clients to save $30,000 or more a year.
The other great thing about solar is with government rebates and access to funding programs, many commercial clients can install their solar solution with no-upfront cost - which means you are cash flow positive from day one. Again, a tailored solution proposal will recommend the best options for you.
Whilst the installation of solar will have the most immediate and significant impact to reducing your electricity costs, if you combine all three strategies you can optimise your savings even further.