Smart meters are becoming increasingly popular in many industries, including the healthcare sector. Hospitals in the UK are now adopting this technology to monitor their energy usage and improve their energy efficiency. In this article, we will explore what smart meters are, how they work, and the benefits they can bring to hospitals.
Let’s first start with the basics.
What are Smart Meters?
Smart meters are electronic devices that measure and record energy consumption in real-time. They are typically installed by energy suppliers and enable customers to monitor their energy usage and costs. Smart meters use wireless technology to communicate with energy suppliers and transmit data about energy consumption. They also provide customers with detailed information about their energy usage, allowing them to identify areas where they can reduce their consumption and save money on their bills.
Smart Energy GB is the national campaign for the smart meter rollout in the UK, and its goal is to encourage every household and business to get a smart meter. Smart Energy GB works with energy suppliers and other partners to promote the benefits of smart meters and encourage their adoption.
According to a report by 2020 Health, installing smart meters in the homes of elderly people and people with conditions such as dementia could help support over 1.6 million people by 2040. The report also estimated that the deployment of smart meters could save the NHS £26 billion over the same period. By using smart meters to monitor energy use patterns, healthcare workers could help carers make decisions about using energy in a way that supports the wellbeing of the people they care for.
How do Smart Meters Work?
Smart meters work by measuring the amount of energy that is consumed in a building. They use two-way communication technology to send this information to energy suppliers and provide customers with real-time data about their energy usage. Smart meters also have a display that shows customers how much energy they are using and how much it is costing them. This allows customers to make informed decisions about their energy usage and adjust their behaviour accordingly.
How can my business or healthcare facility get a smart meter?
If you’re interested in getting a smart meter for your healthcare facility, the first step is to contact your energy supplier. They will be able to tell you if smart meters are available in your area and provide information on how to get one installed.
In most cases, energy suppliers will install smart meters free of charge as part of a government-led program to replace traditional meters with smart meters across the UK. This program is known as the Smart Meter Rollout, and it aims to install smart meters in all homes and small businesses by the end of 2025.
To get a smart meter installed, you will need to provide your energy supplier with some basic information about your healthcare facility, such as its address and the name of the person responsible for the energy account. Your energy supplier will then arrange for a qualified technician to visit your facility and install the smart meter.
They will fit a smart meter that connects to a third-party cellular network and replaces your existing gas and electricity meters. The installation process is non-intrusive and usually takes less than an hour. Once the smart meter is installed, an in-home display (IHD) will be provided to show how much electricity and gas you are using in real-time. You can use this information to identify areas where you can reduce your energy consumption and save money on your energy bills.
What reasons are there for getting a Smart Meter, as opposed to other types of meters?
Smart meters offer numerous benefits for healthcare companies, including:
- Real-time energy usage data: Smart meters provide real-time energy usage data, which can help healthcare companies to identify areas where energy use can be reduced, such as turning off lights and electronics when not in use.
- Improved health and care monitoring: Smart meters could help healthcare companies to monitor energy use in health and social care settings, which can help identify and support people who may need additional support. For example, people with dementia or mental health problems may need additional support to manage their energy use.Energy use information from smart metres might be utilized, with the homeowner’s permission, as a non-intrusive tool to assist in keeping individuals with long-term conditions or who are vulnerable in other ways in their own homes for longer.
Relatives or healthcare professionals may be informed that a person may require more help if there are any irregularities in their energy consumption habits.
So, for instance, if an old person’s home showed no traces of heating or electrical use, a text alert might be issued to a caretaker or other trusted family advising them to check on the individual.
- Cost savings: Smart meters could help healthcare companies to save money on their energy bills, by providing insights into energy use patterns and identifying areas where energy efficiency improvements can be made.
- In-home display: The in-home display could help carers and healthcare workers to show vulnerable customers how much energy they are using, what it’s costing, and how much energy they are using at different times of the day.
- Large-scale deployment: Smart meters are being rolled out across the country, with the goal of 1.6 million installed by 2040. This means that healthcare companies can benefit from the technology, no matter where they are located.
- Weather data: Smart meters can collect weather data, which can be used to provide insights into how weather affects energy usage patterns.
- Energy usage data: Smart meters can collect energy usage data, which can be used for health research purposes, to identify patterns of energy use in vulnerable customer homes.
- Non-intrusive installation: Smart meters can be installed without the need for any wiring changes or extra work, which means that vulnerable customers, such as elderly people or people with conditions, can benefit from the technology in a non-intrusive way.
- Improved reliability: Smart meters are more reliable than existing meters, which means that there is less chance of irregularity in energy usage patterns.
- Connectivity: Smart meters use cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity to transmit data to energy suppliers, which