Lincolnshire County Council in bid to cut energy bill over next five years
The county council is set to launch an ambitious plan to slash its energy costs and carbon footprint over the next five years. The authority is targeting a 22 per cent cut in emissions by the end of March 2018 after seeing a 9 per cent fall in the last two years.
New measures are expected to save £7 million a year by the end of the period.
It comes after the council saw its energy costs jump from £3 million to £10 million between 2007 and 2011. Councillors are hoping the new Carbon Management Plan will provide the basis for cost and energy cutting schemes in schools, offices and other buildings.
Doug Robinson, sustainability team leader at the council, said: "The authority is faced with having to make significant savings over the next few years, so improving efficiency and lowering energy usage has to be better than cutting frontline services.
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"The council also wants to lead by example."
Mr Robinson explained schools account for around two thirds of the council's energy usage and would be a focus of the scheme.
The authority wants to use a variety of methods to achieve its targets, including changing lights in schools, installing solar panels at waste transfer stations, improving street lighting, making changes to heating systems and run- ning staff awareness campaigns.
As part of a national Carbon Trust initiative involving local authorities, the council prepared its first five-year Carbon Management Plan in 2006.
That plan was adopted in June 2007 and included a target of reducing emissions by 20 per cent.
However, it's impossible to say how much it reduced the council's carbons emissions as the baseline data used was inaccurate.
A draft of the new plan was approved by Lincolnshire County Council's environmental scrutiny committee on Friday, February 15.
It will be presented to the executive committee for final approval in March before being implemented in April.
Roger Griffiths, technical director at environmental consultancy Delta-Simons, welcomed the initiative.
He said: "It's great that the county council realises the importance of reducing carbon emissions, not just from a financial perspective but to help create a healthier environment for us all.
"Delta-Simons has worked with organisations all over the world to help reduce energy output and limit waste and this carbon management plan targets the areas where emissions are highest, notably schools and data centres."
If fully implemented, the projects already identified would reduce annual emissions by about 14,065 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Lincolnshire County Council's action so far has included helping to fund a £500,000 project to install solar panels in fire stations across the county.
Sixteen sites have been fitted with the technology, which is expected to save up to £100,000 a year in energy bills.