Posted: Thu 20th Oct 2016

Gwynedd Council’s Ambitious Energy Saving Project Saves Over £2.2 Million /
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Oct 20th, 2016

Craig Papirnyk, duty manager at the Pavilion Leisure Centre, Barmouth where new boilers have been installed with Councillor John Wynn Jones, Gwynedd Cabinet Member for Environment ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A project to reduce a local authority’s carbon footprint in Gwynedd has managed to save more than £2.2 million in energy costs. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Gwynedd Council’s ambitious five-year Carbon Management Plan was launched in 2010 with the aim of driving down the amount it spends on energy in areas such as street lighting, heating and lighting offices and public buildings and more. As a result, by this summer the Council has managed to reduce its overall CO₂ emissions by 26%. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The first phase of the Plan, which has now come to an end, meant investing in order to deliver long-term savings that resulted in upgrading a large proportion of Council buildings, including schools, leisure centres, residential homes and offices to make them more energy efficient. Work included installing new boilers; fitting new lights; insulating walls, lofts and heating pipes; draught proofing; and installing PV solar panels. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Over the past 12 months alone, the project has successfully saved £770,415 in costs and 8,123 tonnes of CO₂. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As well as saving a significant amount on its energy bills, transforming the authority into a more environmentally friendly organisation and ensuring its overall electricity consumption stays below the threshold of 6,000 megawatt/ hours each year has also meant avoiding a hefty £1.7 million tax bill imposed on both private and public organisations as a result of the UK Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor John Wynn Jones, Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “As a Council, we are immensely proud of the Plan’s success to date. The Carbon Management Plan has played an instrumental role in saving money in the Council at a time when local authorities across the country face having to make very difficult financial decisions. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It’s important to remember that the less tax payers’ money we spend on energy costs, the more we have to spend on maintaining the best standard of public services possible for the people of Gwynedd. However as well as this, the Plan, which was created in partnership with the Carbon Trust, also demonstrates our commitment as an authority to reducing the effect we have on the environment.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

While the first phase of the Carbon Management Plan has come to an end, its second phase was recently adopted by the Council. The Carbon Management Plan 2, which will involve £3.26 million capital investment and will see annual revenue savings of £645,000, sets out new projects which will help further reduce carbon emissions and make more savings between now and 2021. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

While the projects in the new Plan will include further investment to improve buildings, street lighting and renewable technologies, the primary focus will be raising awareness among staff to ensure employees as a whole are proactive when it comes to saving energy, with the introduction of new meter systems allowing staff to monitor and manage the energy consumption within their buildings more effectively. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Jones added: “On behalf of the Council, I would like to thank our staff for their hard work and commitment over the past five years for ensuring that our energy costs and carbon footprint have reduced substantially. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“As we move towards the second phase of the Plan, we still have a lot of work to do to reduce our energy consumption and costs even further. However with the continued support of our employees, we r ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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