The Government financed programme of upgrades is one of the largest of its kind in the country and has delivered 258 solar photovoltaic roof projects; replaced 17 ageing oil-fired boilers with more efficient gas versions; installed 85 heating control devices to ensure heating systems are only used when needed; swapped older single-glazed windows with double-glazing in 82 buildings; and fitted 35 sites with cavity wall insulation.
Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Commercial Strategy, Estates and Property, Councillor Steve Forster said:
“Making public buildings more energy efficient is helping to drive down energy usage at a time when we are all facing the challenge of rising costs. Escalating prices have underscored the importance of harnessing greener technology and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels which will save money on bills this winter. At the same time, the County Council has been able to negotiate a deal on energy costs for buildings under our management, such as schools, allowing us to avoid the extremely high increases that are taking place in the energy market, and deliver a better deal for taxpayers.
“While the building upgrades are a significant step in the right direction when it comes to tackling reducing carbon emission, we're under no illusions about the scale of the climate emergency and that we all still have a long way to go. This and the other actions we are taking, over time, will help us to reach our 2050 net zero target.”
The project was funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which offered grants to local authorities to carry out improvements to their buildings that will reduce carbon emissions and make them more energy efficient.
Councillor Jan Warwick, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Climate Change, added:
“We are putting climate change at the heart of all we do and, in this case, delivering both carbon and financial savings for Hampshire’s schools and public buildings. By delivering at this scale, our energy efficiency programme has played a part in helping the county to recover from the economic impacts of Covid-19 by providing a boost to skilled jobs in the low carbon and energy efficiency sectors. What is great about this programme in particular is how it is making a positive impact in hundreds of school communities and helping pupils to learn more about this vital issue.”
Collectively the double-glazed windows, gas boilers, heating controls and cavity wall insulation are forecast to achieve a combined reduction of around 7% in the annual carbon emissions from heating Hampshire County Council’s buildings, equating to a reduction of approximately 1,900 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. The photovoltaics are expected to cut carbon emissions by 2,000 tonnes annually (over the 20-year lifespan of the PV panels, this saving will gradually lessen as more electricity in the UK national grid becomes generated from renewable sources).
Hampshire County Council declared a climate emergency in June 2019 and is committed to mitigating against and building resilience to climate change with a target to bring carbon emissions in Hampshire down to net zero by 2050.