Tuesday, 17 November 2009

New meters in Council buildings to help cut carbon

Council buildings from schools to theatres could be fitted with state-of-the-art energy meters to identify and reduce wastage and cut costs.

Swansea Council's Cabinet is being asked to back a plan to install Automatic Energy Metering in all non-domestic Council owned buildings from public loos to leisure centres.

It would mean 850 gas and electricity meters in around 400 buildings could be updated to provide computer readouts to improve the monitoring of energy usage and end estimated bills.

The move follows the successful monitoring of similar meters in Swansea secondary schools and comes as the Council gears up for the government's Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC).

The mandatory scheme to be introduced by the Government from April 2010 means the Council has to record all the energy it uses and will have to buy carbon allowances based on that usage.

The current energy spend at the Council stands at around £6 million which means the Local Authority faces having to buy carbon allowances of up to £600,000 a year.

Allowance payments will be recycled to participants in the scheme that depend on their carbon reduction performance.

The meters and the data provided should help the Council identify ways of reducing its carbon footprint and the amount of carbon allowances to be purchased.

Buildings to be included in the scheme would include all civic offices, schools, libraries, community centres, leisure centres, museums, theatres, galleries, public conveniences, park pavilions and Council-run residential homes.

Automatic type metering has already been used in Swansea Council comprehensive schools to enable the Council to access energy use through a web-based report system.

It can identify what energy is being used at night or over weekends when schools are closed. Schools can cut costs by reducing wastage caused, for example, by computers being left on unnecessarily.

The metering will also reduce the number of estimated bills the Local Authority receives reducing over payment and administration costs.

Cllr Stuart Rice, Swansea Council Cabinet Member for Finance, said: "The meters would be part of ongoing work within the Local Authority designed to reduce unnecessary energy usage and carbon emissions.

"Not only are we trying to be more environmentally friendly but we also intend keeping the cost to Council Tax payers of the energy we use down.

"It is anticipated that the meters will help identify ways to use energy more efficiently in our buildings and generate future carbon savings."


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