Climate Change

How Devon County Council is reducing its emissions

The energy used by the authority’s corporate buildings, schools and transport requirements costs approximately £18m. Due to energy price rises, these costs are forecast to increase by £10m to £28m by 2020 if no action is taken.

In response to this financial risk, and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the authority has developed an Energy Policy and Strategy, which will contain the cost increase to £6m.

The Energy Policy and Strategy, adopted in July 2013, commits the authority to reduce its own organisational energy consumption and carbon emissions from buildings and transport by at least 15% from 2010/11 levels by 2020, together with providing 15% of remaining energy consumption from renewable sources.

The Energy Strategy consists of three strands:

  1. In the short term, ‘spend to save’ using existing budgets that are allocated to energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, which will reduce costs and generate revenue.
  2. Develop relationships with Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) to implement a programme of comprehensive audits, design and implementation of energy efficiency and building scale renewable energy technologies at no up-front cost to the authority.
  3. Deliver appropriately-scaled renewable energy projects on Devon County Council land.

Progress against the Energy Policy targets is measured through the authority’s annual Environmental Performance Statement and the annual greenhouse gas report.

Previous Activity

In 2007, Devon County Council committed itself to making a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations. The Carbon Trust helped the authority develop its
Carbon Management Programme Strategy and Implementation Plan (2007) image - PDF icon (453KB - pdf help)

This programme included:

  • Running a Doing it for Devon @ Work awareness campaign, which involves our staff Environmental Promoters and includes an Energy@Work strand to encourage staff to reduce energy usage within corporate buildings. Staff are also encouraged to travel more sustainably and reduce the amount of office waste produced and to extend the @Work messages to their lives outside work
  • Running a rolling energy audit programme of corporate buildings to identify areas of energy wastage and highlight cost-effective measures to improve efficiency
  • Introducing an automatic meter reading system for main buildings, covering gas and electricity usage, as well as the heat output from the new biomass boiler
  • Installing a renewable biomass boiler (operational in April 2009) that uses woodchips to heat council buildings on the County Hall site, replacing an existing gas heating system
  • Introducing voltage optimisers in selected buildings to enable us to use electricity more efficiently
  • Rolling out loft and cavity wall insulation in selected corporate buildings
  • Installing replacement lower energy lighting systems in some corporate buildings
  • Incorporating lower energy IT systems such as ultra thin client technologies and server virtualisation
  • Rolling out (over 3 years) a programme of part night lighting for street lights in residential areas across the county, which involves switching off the lights between 12.30am and 5.30am.