Back to blog list

Technological ways to save energy

28 Apr 2022 | Anthony Chadwick


Embracing technology can often help us to save energy, at home and at work. The Webinar Vet is a technology based company which achieved Green accreditation with Investors in the Environment, so its founder Anthony Chadwick shares his tech-based tips to help veterinary teams be more energy efficient.

Technological ways to save energy Image

I attended COP26 in Glasgow in November when world leaders tried to commit to limiting the increase in temperatures above pre-industrial levels by 1.5 degrees centigrade. The current commitments by governments are likely to fall short of this target, so individuals and businesses must step up to make this target a reality.

Working out how much carbon we can pump into the environment before we exceed the 1.5 degrees target is difficult because it depends on which earth system model we use. However, most predictions suggest we have about 8-15 years at present usage before we reach a tipping point. Once we’ve reached that point where we’ve used up the carbon and gone above the temperature limit, we will begin to see even more severe weather events.

So, what can we do in veterinary practice to limit these increases?

Energy efficient technology

One of the most important areas is using energy more efficiently. I want to concentrate on some easy things that practices can do to limit energy usage within the practice.

Busy vets and nurses can forget to turn the lights off. Using energy-efficient LED lighting in the practice which has motion sensors in little-used areas will save several hundred pounds a year in an average practice and probably more now that energy prices are skyrocketing.

When I moved my practice in 2009, I fitted the most energy-efficient boiler. Using the most efficient appliances across the practice whether they are boilers, computers, freezers, fridges, or cookers will save thousands of pounds in a practice but will also reduce carbon emissions too. Newer technology like air source heat pumps will massively reduce electricity usage in a practice and of course, excellent insulation will further reduce carbon emissions.

Fitting a smart meter in the practice allows the practice manager to monitor daily energy usage and will help to determine which are the most energy-hungry appliances. These can be turned off at the wall when not needed

Online efficiency

Not many people realise that having a website and sending emails has a carbon cost. All of the data produced by computers has to be stored on servers that use energy and can produce heat necessitating air conditioning in the buildings holding the servers to prevent overheating and potential fires. Some digital service providers commit to using green energy to power these data centres and also plant trees for each new client. A UK based example is

Ecosia is a search engine that plants trees every time someone searches for something on the internet. It is worth switching from the more famous engines within the practice.

Consider online meetings

Planning business mileage and deciding on ways to reduce it year on year will be an important part of businesses charting their way to net zero. Making use of online meetings instead of travelling long distances can be a great way to achieve this.

When The Webinar Vet started in 2010, my prime concern was to make high-quality veterinary education more accessible and affordable for vets and nurses throughout the world. One of the blockers for that was the high cost of physical courses, as well as the indirect costs like locum, hotel and travel costs. Travelling to an event also had an environmental impact. At that time it was common for me to jump in the car after an evening surgery and travel up to Manchester or Preston to listen to an hour-long lecture; have a chat in the bar; eat an average buffet and then drive home and go to bed knowing I would wake up tired the next day before starting work again. I might travel 60km to achieve one hour of CPD. I was not alone in doing this.

The Webinar Vet has calculated that we’ve taken over 10 million miles off the roads and airways over the last 12 years – something we are very proud of.

Make your own energy

Finally, practices could look at ways of producing their own energy. I have solar panels on my roof at home for hot water and electricity. These are becoming more cost-effective with increased electricity costs. They also set a good example demonstrating the vet practice as a leader in the community to encourage more people to embrace solar and wind power as our energy production becomes more decentralised.


Want to join BVA?

Get tailored news in your inbox and online, plus access to our journals, resources and support services, join the BVA.

Join Us Today

Not a member but want a weekly vet news round up?

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter for the latest vet news in your inbox.

For tailored content in your inbox and online, as well as access to our journals and resource and support services you might want to consider joining BVA.