A pilot behavioural change project at Barts Health NHS Trust in London has cut its energy bills by £100,000.

The Operation TLC project, which encourages 15,000 nurses, doctors and hospital staff to turn off unused equipment, switch off lights and close hospital doors, was the result of a public-private-NGO partnership between Barts Health NHS Trust, GE, Skanska, and environmental charity Global Action Plan, provider of the UK’s only environmental behaviour change programmes endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Using highly targeted education efforts, social norming, and staff advocacy, the programme reduced the number of lights left on in wards by up to 40%. Ensuring that staff closed crucial
doors allowed for better temperature regulation and increased patient safety and privacy. The trust has estimated that rolling the programme out could save a further £400,000. If similar ‘nudge’ techniques were used across all health trusts in the UK, the NHS could save as much as £35m.

Crucially, the programme paid for itself in less than one year, representing a greater return on investment than many other energy-efficiency investments.
The trust’s director of estates and facilities, Trevor Payne, said: “We have some fantastic buildings within the trust, but it is how people use them that makes the biggest difference.” Operation TLC has delivered improved patient care at the core of our business whilst empowering our entire workforce to take action on energy usage and climate change. It has been
a truly inspiring project and one I hope other NHS Trusts will be inspired to follow.”

In addition to the energy savings, patients in wards where the pilot took place also reported improved experience through better sleep, reporting one third fewer incidences of sleep disruption, and a quarter fewer privacy disruptions than in non-pilot wards.