After a meeting of the Buildings, Land and Procurement Panel, Executive Member for Commercial Strategy, Human Resources and Performance, Councillor Stephen Reid, said: “We’ve been working on reducing our carbon emissions for many years now, often beating our projected improvements, and increasing our target in recent years. We’re now well on the way to meeting our 2025 target of 50% reduction. This is good news for the climate, but also for our taxpayers – the overall savings we’ve made since 2010 are over £30 million in cumulative energy costs.
“Climate change is one of the most pressing problems of our era. That’s why we’ve signed up to the government’s Emissions Reduction Pledge 2020. It’s also why green energy, and energy saving initiatives, have been a significant area of investment for the County Council for nearly a decade - with nearly £6 million invested in improvements since 2010.
“I will now be recommending that we allocate over £1 million more, to support the further expansion and development of the electric vehicle infrastructure, and further solar photovoltaic energy generation, across council operations.”
Hampshire County Council formally declared a Climate Change Emergency at its meeting in July 2019. It has recently signed up to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Emissions Reduction Pledge 2020, and is currently working on a proposed action plan for Climate Change.
Improvements to the County Council’s energy efficiency and overall carbon footprint began in 2010, and the organisation has so far made a 43.3% reduction in carbon emissions – well on the way to meet its current target of 50% by 2025. Cumulative savings in energy costs, across the Council’s whole operation and Hampshire schools, have so far totalled over £30million. Carbon tax charges have also been reduced by £385,000 since the start of the programme.
Initiatives that have contributed to the carbon reductions and savings have included:
- A major ongoing programme of replacing building lights with LED alternatives
- Dimming and switching off street lighting in residential areas during specific times
- Replacing the County Council’s fleet of cars with electric vehicles
- Fitting smart meters to all its buildings including schools to measure energy consumption and encourage switching off and behaviour change
LED lighting replacements, in a range of buildings across the Council, have led to energy savings amounting to £150,000 and 470 tonnes of carbon per year. The projects will pay for themselves within only a few years, as well as contributing to reduced emissions.
The Central South Regional Framework for Electric Vehicle Charging Points, which is self-funding and is managed by the County Council, enables public sector organisations to ‘bulk buy’ electric vehicle charging points. So far, 39 organisations including Winchester City Council, Southampton City Council, Oxford City Council, Test Valley Borough Council and Hampshire Police have entered the arrangement.
As well as installing over 100 charging points for its own vehicles, the County Council will, by the end of this year, have installed 10 charging points for its customers at its five main country parks, and Calshot Activities Centre. More will follow, at other public sites, in the next year.
Installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the County Council’s buildings has contributed significantly to the reduction in emissions. Over 60 arrays have now been installed on larger buildings where panels are technically feasible. As the cost of the panels reduces over time, it is anticipated that it will become more viable to put them on small buildings too.
For many years, the County Council has supported Hampshire’s schools with energy and carbon reduction programmes, such as LED lighting and energy performance improvements.