NHS Lothian

A leak sees money trickle away. Business Stream uses smart meter technology to make £130k of year-on-year savings for NHS Lothian.

07 November 2016 Reading time: 3 minutes

Being smart 

Business Stream’s experts use smart meter technology to make £130,000 of year-on-year savings for NHS Lothian.

Ageing infrastructrure can be prone to leaks so when NHS Lothian welcomed Business Stream’s suggestions to measure their consumption levels, they found large financial savings. 

Working closely with Business Stream, NHS Lothian has been able to make significant year-on-year water and waste water savings for one of their major Edinburgh hospitals. Business Stream’s clever data management solutions enabled NHS Lothian’s Royal Victoria Hospital to benchmark their water consumption levels against similar sites and identify inefficiencies, and tackle positive action. 

Business Requirements

NHS Lothian University Hospital division provides acute adult and paediatric care to the people of the Lothian regions. Hospitals are situated across the city of Edinburgh. Employing 11,000 staff, these hospitals treat just over 160,000 patients each year. One of their major Edinburgh hospitals, Royal Victoria Hospital, was built before the 1900’s, making it prone to significant leaks from ageing infrastructure and subsoil conditions. Left undetected, these leaks can become very expensive and incur unnecessary cost. 


NHS Lothian welcomed Business Stream’s suggestion to install smart meters to measure consumption levels at their Royal Victoria Hospital. Smart meters enable meter readings to be taken every 15 minutes, providing an in-depth analysis of water consumption patterns, indicating water usage, wastage and possible bursts. Using this data to benchmark consumption levels with similar sites and identify any inefficiencies and possible savings, Business Stream’s water experts showed that consumption at the Royal Victoria Hospital far exceeded expected levels. These inconsistencies suggested that a burst was highly likely to be causing the problem. The ageing pipe work had struggled to cope with fluctuating pressures across the network. Because of the burst’s location it had gone undetected for some time. With the use of manual inspections and the latest, non-intrusive electronic checks, Business Stream located and repaired the burst within a week. Fixing the burst immediately reduced average hourly consumption from more than 12m3 to less than 4m3, as well as reducing the associated drop in waste water charges. 

Business Benefits 

Business Stream’s expert advice and the use of smart metering technology were able to deliver real business benefits to NHS Lothian. As a result of the repair, the Royal Victoria Hospital is now saving over £130,000 a year in water and waste water charges. If left undetected, the burst may have resulted in a potentially disastrous problem for the hospital and its patients, for example temporary closure of the hospital if the leak has to be fixed under emergency conditions. Not surprisingly, the Business Stream team are now advising Lothian Health Board on many more of their sites.

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