Norfolk Residential Care Home saves on gas bills with HeatingSave
Avery Lodge is a privately owned Residential Care Home situated in the traditional east Norfolk seaside resort of Great Yarmouth. Owner Karl Hodgins runs it with his wife Sheryl, who is the day-to-day manager. It contains mainly elderly residents and like most care homes it proves very expensive to heat, doubly so as it is also an older building.
The problem facing Avery Lodge was that the energy companies were raising winter fuel prices, some by as much as 9%, whilst at the same time the UK seemed to be heading for another long, cold winter. This made Karl realise that he had to do something about cutting the fuel spending whilst at the same time considering the particular needs of the residents.
Karl explained, “The residents are mainly high-dependency. This means they have low mobility, so they are very sedentary and need a higher degree of heat to keep warm. The heating is on a lot – it’s on ‘24/7’. It was more of a challenge to keep costs down because the existing heating system only had simple, basic controls”, he added, “Because it is a large and old building, heating is one of our biggest outlays along with wages. We wanted more control because the building is split into two areas”.
After noticing that homes and businesses can typically save over 25% on gas bills with HeatingSave, Karl arranged to have a HeatingSave Building Energy Management System (BEMS) installed around the end of October 2010. A HeatingSave BEMS controller was retrofitted to each boiler at Avery Lodge, replacing the boiler time clock. One of the gas boilers handles the part of the building which is being used for sleeping, which is rarely used in the day; the other boiler controls occupancy areas such as the lounge and dining areas.
Karl was given some basic training on how to use the HeatingSave system by the installation engineer and feels that this has equipped him to use the system to make further savings. His view of the quality of the training was, “The training was very helpful. That’s how I’ve been able to make a few alterations to the way the HeatingSave system works”.
Karl told the HeatingSave reporter that the system has already made a difference, even before he gets his first quarterly fuel bill. “The savings are quite considerable, because we are not burning fuel at the same temperature all the time.”
One of the HeatingSave features that Karl particularly likes is the PC software. He said he is already using different parts of the software to cut the amount of fuel used. These include heating zones for different parts of the complex and a heating diary for each day of the year. “I’m able to drop the temperature a few degrees overnight when people do not need it to be as hot because people are sleeping,” he enthused. “Over an eight-hour period, that’s a significant saving”.
Karl used the system to identify a problem with the actual plumbing, explaining “One of our pumps had broken. I identified the problem using the HeatingSave system, so HeatingSave helped me solve the problem.”
When asked what he liked most about HeatingSave, Karl replied, “I like the simplicity of the HeatingSave computer software. I can see the value of the system – the maths for me add up. I’m already reducing the heating used, so bills have got to come down”.
We also asked Karl whether he would recommend HeatingSave to other care homes or businesses. The emphatic reply was,“Yes, definitely!”, and summing up his experience with HeatingSave he concluded , “I can now see there’ll be lots of savings to be made, and long-term it is money back into the business rather than off to the gas board”.
93 Southtown Road
Tel: 01493 652566