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RBS Innovation Gateway

Solving our sustainability challenge through innovation

It is just over one year since the RBS Innovation Gateway was launched, sparking one of the UK’s most innovative searches for new ways of saving energy, water and waste.

We developed the RBS Innovation Gateway to help the bank innovate and accelerate savings, resource efficiency and carbon reduction in a fast moving and dynamic environment.

In addition to driving resource efficiency, the Gateway aims to nurture innovative solutions and help SMEs to accelerate access to market; we know how valuable this is for small businesses which are ambitious and growing. By opening our doors we offer innovators access to a live test-bed where real data can be obtained and long term, positive changes can be made to the bank’s buildings based on great performance. 

The first Round of the Gateway took place in 2014, attracting over 140 submissions from ten countries around the world in just 40 days. From the process ten innovators secured trials on the RBS estate, the initial results coming in from the trials are very positive and have identified a number of opportunities.

Inspired by this success, we are now launching the next challenge, focused on one of RBS’s most iconic sites, Gogarburn, our World Headquarters in Edinburgh.

The Gogarburn Innovation Challenge

This iconic campus, set in a 90-acre site in West Edinburgh, is undergoing a regeneration project to increase capacity to house 6,000 staff in addition to creating new spaces for staff to connect with customers and peers across the business. The regeneration programme also aims to improve the campus’ environmental impact and deliver important savings as part of our overall cost reduction programme.

To achieve this, we have opened our doors once more for innovative products that can help us tackle a range of sustainability challenges at Gogarburn. The successful innovations that emerge from the process will be installed on the campus and will play an integral part in the regeneration project and in creating a campus that will become known as a centre for customer and technology innovation.

“The RBS Innovation Gateway is a unique opportunity for SMEs and innovators to install their innovative solutions on our estate but also for RBS to learn from the innovators in terms of how they work, innovate and invent”                                                                                                                     
John Hayes, Head of Workplace Services, RBS

“This is an amazing opportunity! Hats off to RBS for thinking forward and being a leader in promoting innovation!”
Carol McKown, RAISE Energy Solutions

Join the RBS Innovation Gateway at www.innovationgateway.rbs.com

RBS Energy and Innovation Manager Neil Woollam will be talking about the RBS Innovation Gateway at the Eco Technology Show on Thursday 11th June at 12:40pm in Seminar Area 3. Register now to have access to this and over 70 talks, panels and keynote talks at the show.  







Did you know that at least £5bn per year of the UK's domestic energy bills is wasted? 

If someone told you that a user-fittable product costing typical £150 per household could help save much of that, so the typical householder gets their money back within one winter, would you be interested?

OpenTRV is on course to deliver that product.

Founded by two experienced hardware-to-Web techies with decades of experience delivering mission critical systems, and of startups, trial systems have been in place for two winters in multiple homes and delivering up to 50% savings in space heating. 

In preparing to give the lead presentation at a Department of Energy and Climate Change "smart heating" workshop in October 2012 it became evident to Damon Hart-Davis that there were some very low-hanging fruit in bill and carbon reductions to be had in home heating, technologies that are commonplace in commercial settings. 

The most obvious savings come from only heating rooms that actually need heating through 'zoning' and occupancy sensing. The commercial offering then and now are proprietary so you can't mix and match so prices are too high.

While everyone agreed with those points, it became evident that no one in that room, even the well-known manufacturers present, had a solution or was going to deliver one soon, so the OpenTRV project was born.

Our view is that unless the average home owner can get their money back in a single winter, and preferably (for the UK market in particular) fit the device themselves, most simply will not bother; most homes run with inadequate controls or insulation or both. Also, not everyone wants to use a smartphone to control their heating, or an Internet connection, or wants to fumble down the side of a radiator with a complex instruction manual, so cost and simplicity are key. 

Indeed, by eliminating the need for a central hub (though extra savings are available with one) a cautious user will be able to hazard as little as £10 to upgrade one radiator valve and make sure they are happy with the product, and start saving immediately. Other units can be bought incrementally as needed. 

In fact, there's more to our smart cheap open-source wireless radio valves than meets the eye. Inside every OpenTRV valve is an Internet of Things (IoT) node wanting to be heard. This is exactly what IoT should be about; simple smart invisible help with everyday life, not toasters ordering toothpaste on your credit card.

Our smart technology inside the valves helps keep track of frail people, to ensure that they are warm enough and moving around, maybe relaying the data to a social landlord.

Hoteliers and universities can use it to know when rooms are empty for cleaning, or something has gone wrong with lighting or heating or even adjust some things remotely.

OpenTRV has extracted an IoT platform from the valve technology and is being funded by Innovate UK

this year to develop other vertical markets alongside smart heating, in particular transport (footfall around bus shelters for journey and vehicle and advertisement scheduling) and building health.

Talking numbers, there are 100 million radiator valve sites in the UK with a 20-year replacement cycle,and for the whole EU 500 million. There are 20,000 bus stops in London and 400,000 just in the UK; suddenly all those transport operators can know where there putative passengers are!

This IoT world is huge, and on stand E54 and Friday afternoon at 15:45 in Seminar area 3, come and meet OpenTRV and encounter the Internet of Things in the real world.

Damon Hart-Davis, CEO, OpenTRV

Innovative Sustainability Programmes

Consider the state of the UK public sector for a moment.  If you believe everything you read in the media, we are facing overcrowding in A&E, cuts to education, a £2bn budget shortfall in the NHS, reductions in local authorities’ services, and services under unprecedented pressure – it all sounds pretty grim.  Politicians throw up their hands in despair, and people point fingers in hopes of finding something or someone to blame.  It is certainly true that public sector workers are feeling the pressure of salary freezes while being asked to do more every day.

What solutions are available?  Unsurprisingly, many public sector organisations have taken the difficult (but relatively quick return) solution of making cuts – budgets, staffing and services are all experiencing cost reduction.  This has a significant impact on those who are supported and protected by these services, including the most vulnerable in our society.  

There is an alternative.  What if we could take some of the sting out of the cuts while enhancing the public sector’s financial resilience, if we could reduce financial pressures while improving services and reducing their impact on the environment?  This is precisely what a number of public sector organisations, led by the NHS, are doing through innovative sustainability programmes. 

Sustainability programmes must adapt to and support the delivery of their organisations’ business and strategic objectives.  For example, at Essentia, we are working with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust to develop a portfolio of energy efficiency works that will ensure the Trust achieves its required carbon reduction targets and saves over £1.3 million each year, as well as improving collaboration across its £1 billion capital development programme.  Through the energy savings programme, the capital development team is empowered to ensure projects consider energy management, and works across projects to rationalise equipment and make sure the Trust estate can adapt to future service needs. 

Energy performance contracts (EPCs) can be attractive vehicles for delivering significant benefits to any sustainability programme.  An EPC is a partnership with an energy savings company (ESCo) that enables public sector organisations to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and facilities, delivering real and longstanding savings for public services.  The contract guarantees that the measures implemented by the ESCo will generate sufficient savings to pay for the projects, and all savings accrue to the client.  With little risk and an average energy saving of 14%, the NHS alone could save over £100m by implementing strategic energy and utility reducing programmes, enough to employ nearly 3,000 nurses. 

By putting together a strategic plan that delivers a range of projects, EPCs can blend the “quick wins” with those that add value, but perhaps do not have the necessary defined paybacks.  Thus, public sector organisations can achieve a programme of investment that delivers true and lasting value to the organisation.  

Addressing utility consumption, typically the second highest overhead cost in the public sector after staff cost, presents an excellent opportunity to tackle finances and minimise the loss of valuable front-line employees. Forward-thinking organisations know that reducing spend on energy, water and waste is no longer a ‘nice to do’ but something which makes good financial as well as environmental sense.  On its own, it might not amount to much, but taken as part of a long-term sustainability programme, perhaps combined with an EPC, it will go a long way to alleviating the cost pressures in the system – and minimise the need to make cuts.  

Alexandra Hammond, Associate Director, Sustainability, Essentia

Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS)

ESOS is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for large organisations in the UK.  It requires organisations to identify cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities that can both help reduce energy use and save money.

Do I qualify?

Organisations must take part in ESOS if on 31 December 2014 they, or at least one of their group members, were a 'large undertaking'*.

A 'large undertaking' is an organisation which:

  • is registered in the UK and employs at least 250 people; or
  • is registered in the UK and has an annual turnover above £38,937,777 and an annual balance sheet total above £33,486,489; or
  • is an overseas company with a UK registered establishment which has at least 250 UK employees (paying income tax in the UK)

ESOS does not apply to the public sector. 

*If your organisation is on the cusp of qualification and have recently grown or shrunk in size, please read the ESOS guidance at www.gov.uk/energy-savings-opportunity-scheme-esos.  It provides additional information which will help you determine qualification.

Act now, if you haven’t done so already

Complying with ESOS may take your organisation time, so it is important to act now to understand your responsibilities and determine what you need to do to comply.

ESOS assessment and first notification deadline

If your organisation qualifies, you need to complete your ESOS assessment of your energy use (processes, buildings, transport) and notify your compliance to the Environment Agency by 5 December 2015, and every 4 years thereafter.

There are no administrative fees and you do not need to register before submitting your notification.  The notification form can be accessed via the ESOS page on GOV.UK. 

Help and advice

If you have any further queries please contact the ESOS helpdesk at esos@environment-agency.gov.uk

Jo Scully – ESOS Project Manager, Environment Agency

Care Without Carbon

A fresh approach for sustainable healthcare

Care Without Carbon is a new, unique and award winning approach to achieving sustainable healthcare. Developed by Capita’s sustainable healthcare team in partnership with Sussex Community NHS Trust, Care Without Carbon has been created by the NHS, for the NHS – with high quality patient care at the heart of our approach.

Challenging Targets across the NHS

All NHS Trusts need to adapt to become more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. There are challenging targets to be met across all areas of the business; Care Without Carbon’s seven steps provide a blueprint for meeting this challenge and reaping the benefits of implementing more sustainable models of care.

Connecting the business and engaging staff

Care Without Carbon is designed to integrate with the organisational vision and transformation programmes, so that sustainability isn’t an ‘add on’ but instead is embedded within the structure of the organisation. The focus shifts away from asking busy people to do more, but instead asks them to do things differently. 

A key element to Care Without Carbon is our behavioural change campaign, Dare to Care.

Paula Head, chief executive at SCT, said: “As a responsible NHS trust, we want to encourage our dedicated staff to help us deliver healthcare in a greener and more environmentally responsible way.

“Staff are being asked to sign up to a challenge to help reduce waste and carbon emissions. This could be anything from printing double sided, switching off lights or taking the bus to work instead of driving.

“By taking part in the Dare to Care challenge our staff can have some fun and work in a way that’s better for them, our patients, our community and the environment.

Reap the benefits

Any NHS organisation can benefit from adopting the Care Without Carbon programme – rewards reach across finance and energy performance, to staff wellbeing and enhanced patient care. Care Without Carbon’s co-ordinated approach to sustainability will:

  • Improve employee health and wellbeing – reducing stress and sickness absence.
  • Enable better patient care during floods, heat waves and other extreme weather events, which we are seeing more of due to climate change.
  • Boost cost savings across operational areas – through smarter travel, waste and energy solutions.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint in line with legal requirements.
  • Enhance your reputation by setting the standard for sustainable healthcare.

The proof’s in the pudding

We’re very proud that Care Without Carbon has won several awards already – three at the 2015 NHS Sustainability Awards in the categories of Human Resources, Clinical and Behaviour Change.


However awards don’t come without results – and we are very proud of the difference that Care Without Carbon is already making. Working with Sussex Community NHS Trust we’ve cut carbon emissions by 18% and counting – working towards an ambitious carbon neutral goal. Business mileage has dropped by 500,000 miles, and fleet emissions have gone down by 17%. We achieved zero non healthcare waste going to landfill, with 68% non-healthcare waste recycled. The cumulative cost savings are expected to reach £4.75m.

In addition, our work with East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has already identified over £500,000 cost savings in one year and we’ve set in place a sustainable development management plan to reduce carbon emissions by 34% by 2020. Mark Paice, Assistant Commercial Director Estates said, “The Care Without Carbon approach has provided a simple route map that staff across the Trust can understand and it’s already proving very effective – over half a million pounds in savings identified for this year.”

Find out more

You can discover more about Care Without Carbon and the Dare to Care campaign by visiting our website www.carewithoutcarbon.org. Or you can email susie.vernon@nhs.net and we’d be happy to get in touch with you to share more about our work.