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Energy Efficency Drive Saves Council Money (21/03/07)
When faced with an expected £6 million energy bill The Highland Council set up an Energy Management Working Group with a remit to develop a 10- year strategy for energy management in Council properties. At today’s Resources Committee members were told that for the first quarter in 2006-7 electricity use had been cut by 12.8% resulting in a reduction on CO2 emissions of nearly 13% compared with the same period last year. Combining available data for Quarters 1 and 2 shows a saving of at least £310,010 against current energy prices.
The Working Group was set up last year to identify ways of increasing energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, reducing energy consumption through behavioural change and awareness raising and increasing use of renewable energy.
Councillor Ian Ross, Chairman of the Sustainable Development Committee, said: “With soaring prices bringing energy issues to the fore we felt it was very important to set up a Working Group to identify ways of increasing energy efficency and reducing energy consumption. To do this the Group have looked at ways of changing people’s behaviour and of raising awareness. The savings already made demonstrates a strong commitment by Council staff and building users to cut down on the amount of energy we use, particularly in our schools.”
The Council has drawn up a list of it’s top 40 energy consuming buildings and 9 of the top 10 are schools.
Councillor Ross added: “I would like to congratulate all our staff for getting behind the campaign. It is now important that we maintain the focus and continue looking at ways to cut down the amount of fuel used in all our buildings and in doing so improve our carbon footprint.”
Before 2010, the Council wants to: -
• Reduce energy use by 15%;
• Avoid £3.8 million in energy costs;
• Reduce carbon emissions from Council buildings by a minimum of 15%; and
• Increase the installed capacity of renewable energy equipment by a minimum of 4,000 kilowatts.
To achieve this it intends that:-
• £5.84 million be spent on a range of energy saving improvements in the Council’s least energy efficient properties, which will reap benefits for many years to come;
• An innovation fund be established to deliver quick wins that can be identified by staff;
• Through training, incentives and publicity, staff and building users should be encouraged to take responsibility for saving energy.
The Council is also seeking to increase the Council’s use of renewable energy in the design of new buildings and in replacing existing energy systems where appropriate.
Notes to editors:
Between 2003-2004 and 2004-2005, the Council’s energy bill rose by 20% to £5.2 million and the expectation is that it will increase by a further £1.835 million in the current financial year and a further £1.858 million in 2006-2007.