What is it?
Parliament is launching a new initiative, embracing the challenge of improving energy efficiency to:
- save public money;
- cut out waste; and
- show leadership.
Why is it happening?
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has calculated that cost-effective investment in energy efficiency could save 22 power stations’ worth of electricity by 2020. And with energy prices having increased by 25% since 2008/09, the need to reduce our energy wastage has never been greater. Parliament therefore intends to tackle this issue head on by generating and implementing fresh ideas that will help it reduce waste and energy consumption. It plans to share its ideas and successes so that others can achieve similar savings.
What does the initiative mean in practice?
Parliament’s environment team is leading the efforts to tackle this challenge, with the support of the charity Global Action Plan and social enterprise CarbonCulture.
They are inviting Members and staff to offer ideas, challenges and insights on how the Estate can achieve excellent energy efficiency. Ideas and information will be shared (such as live feeds of our energy consumption) that will then enable action.
Why are we bringing in external support?
Parliament is proud of the achievements it has made so far, for example, alterations to the Victoria Tower floodlights have resulted in efficiency gains, whilst maintaining light levels and appearance, and the installation of automatic loggers on all water, gas and electrical supplies will improve our monitoring and identification of leaks and other wastage. However, meeting Parliament’s energy commitment and targets will require new thinking and collective action across the Estate. This challenge requires the collaborative creation and implementation of energy efficiency plans and measures, for which the two organisations provide specialist support.
Who else have Global Action Plan and CarbonCulture worked with and what benefits/savings did they see as a result?
CarbonCulture has pioneered projects at the Dept of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Cabinet Office and 10 Downing St. Global Action Plan has 20 years’ experience of supporting improvements in wide-ranging settings including FTSE companies, universities, hospitals and government. One energy programme with Barts Health NHS Trust saved £300,000 and 800 tonnes of CO2 per year through employee action in hospitals whilst GAP’s programmes with supermarkets have measured that employee actions bring about 3% improvements in energy consumption. Parliament is comparable with few organisations, but both hospitals and supermarkets share some of the challenges of the Parliamentary Estate, such as public access and multifunctional buildings. Detailed case studies are available at Global Action Plan.
How long will the initiative last?
Parliament has made a long term commitment to reducing its environmental impact, through reducing waste generation, water consumption and energy consumption. These targets run to the financial year 2020/21. This initial phase of the long term commitment where all of Parliament’s occupants are given the opportunity to formally contribute to those targets for the first time runs through to September 2014 with the external support, but the Environment Team will be continuing to lead the push to hit those targets right through to 2020/21.