The Waterline

09 January 2024

Health centres in Hull, funded and operated through the NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) programme, are becoming some of the most sustainable in the country, thanks in part to an ambitious programme of lighting replacements.

Healthcare estates management company Hull Citycare has been working with Sewell Facilities Management across their 13 health centres in the city to replace almost 7,000 light fittings with low-energy LEDs, dramatically reducing energy usage and costs, and lessening their carbon footprint.

Health centres such as Bransholme Health Centre, the Orchard Centre and Wilberforce Health Centre now have every light replaced by an LED fitting, saving tens of thousands of pounds a year.

As well as using less energy, LEDs are brighter than standard compact fluorescent lighting, give big savings on costs and last up to a decade, ten times as long as a normal light bulb.

The final light of the programme was fitted by Sewell FM technicians Andy Richardson and Craig Webb at Elliott Chappell Health Centre on 14 December 2023, making Hull the only city to have all their health centres fully fitted with LEDs.

Community Health Partnerships is the head tenant at 308 healthcare buildings, built under the LIFT programme in England. So far, 24 are fully LED lit (as of May 2023), and 13 of those are in Hull, so the city is leading the way in energy-efficient lighting. Community Health Partnerships is an NHS property company wholly owned by the Department of Health and Social Care.

The scheme, which has taken two years to complete, was started when Sewell FM wanted to find a new way to help Hull Citycare save time, money and energy.

Sean Henderson, Managing Director of Sewell FM, who manage building maintenance for the health centres, said:

“Changing a lightbulb in a health centre isn’t as easy as you think, as you need to close off the space, put up barriers and sometimes even bring in mobile elevating working platforms to reach fittings in higher and difficult to reach areas. It causes disruption for the building’s users and staff, takes our facilities team away from urgent jobs and then, a year or so after you’ve put the new lightbulb in, it needs replacing again.

“After trialling LEDs at Bilton Health Centre, we knew the benefits that moving to LEDs would bring for the buildings, patients and our staff, so we agreed to pay for and fit the new lights to all the health centres ourselves. It was an ambitious target to get all the replacements completed within two years, and our technicians have worked really hard to get the job finished. Now we have much longer lasting lights that don’t need changing every year, they can put their time and energy into ensuring all our buildings stay in the best condition.”

Tim Wigglesworth, Chief Executive of Hull Citycare, said:

“Decarbonisation is at the top of everyone’s priority list at the moment, so when Sewell Facilities Management came to us saying they could reduce energy consumption and also save money, it seemed like a win-win situation. It’s already saving the health centres thousands of pounds every year, which is money that can be spent on clinical services and making the health centres even better for patients.”

Sarah Bloor, Head of Sustainability at Community Health Partnerships, said:

“Our primary and community buildings are crucial healthcare estate, aligning to the NHS Net Zero ambitions and sustainability agenda is a key driver for CHP, and we understand the importance of this to our tenants. Being able to deliver sustainable facilities and value for money has never been so important. We are delighted that 100% of Hull Citycare buildings now have LED lights, resulting in significant environmental and financial savings across the health system. CHP is proud of our commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility, continuing to work with our partners on projects in 2024.”

The partnership’s commitment to the environment doesn’t end with putting in the new LED lights, as the old lights will also be recycled, returning to the manufacturers so they can recycle and reuse the fittings and cases.

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