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Conserve and Save: Energy Efficiency Action Plan

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C4. Energy Efficiency Across the Public Sector

Seaview Primary - A low carbon development by Angus Council

school photo

Angus Council won Carbon Trust Scotland's Low Carbon Building Award for a New Building in 2010 for their development of Seaview Primary School. The development replaced the old school building which was inefficient and expensive to heat. The new school building provides a flexible learning environment which is warm and comfortable and has significantly reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions.

As signatories of Scotland's Climate Change Declaration, Angus Council is committed to incorporating greenhouse gas reduction measures into new plans. The council's Education Department therefore set out to ensure that the new school building would be as energy efficient as possible.

The development project was managed by an in-house multidisciplinary team.

The walls of the schools were constructed using pre-engineered timber frame panels which contain insulation produced from recycled newspaper. These panels offer insulation levels in excess of the building regulations in force at the time and they fit neatly together which reduces cold air infiltration. The windows are double glazed and have low emissivity glazing which allows sunlight to enter the room whilst inhibiting heat loss. A thermographic survey was used to assess the continuity of insulation throughout the building and secondly an air tightness test was carried out to determine the rate of air infiltration.

These tests showed that the construction had been to a high standard with no faults in the insulation and the air tightness of the building was substantially better than the required level.

By providing a visual picture of surface temperatures, thermographic imaging can be used to identify faults in building insulation. The thermographic survey conducted at Seaview Primary School identified no such problems with only minor heat losses around the edges of some windows.

Through a careful design process and tightly monitored construction phase, Angus Council has been able to develop a low carbon school which provides a modern learning environment for its primary school and infant pupils.

The school uses energy efficiently and generates its heat from renewable resources. Lights, heating and ventilation are automatically controlled to ensure that the internal environment is always comfortable without wasting energy.

C4. Energy Efficiency Across the Public Sector

We will provide clear energy efficiency guidance and leadership to the public sector to enable the delivery of energy saving improvements and promote exemplary behaviour.

The public sector needs to play a key role if Scotland is successfully to reduce its energy consumption by the magnitude required to meet our climate change targets. As well as the direct environmental and financial benefits of improving energy efficiency, the public sector has the scope to act as a standard for other sectors. If the Scottish Government and other public sector partners expect businesses and individuals to cut their energy use, then it is vital that the public sector itself demonstrates highly energy efficient behaviour, both in the energy performance of its large estate and through the many staff it employs.

The Scottish Government has a coordination role to ensure that relevant central and local government organisations, and other public bodies, speak with one voice on energy efficiency and have the necessary tools to contribute to an overall reduction in energy consumption. As part of this, we will ensure our various strategies and regulations, such as the Public Bodies Climate Change Duties, the Leading by Example programme, and the School Estate Strategy, complement each other.

Action 4.1 We will use the commencement of the Public Bodies Climate Change Duties as an opportunity to focus attention across the public sector on improving energy efficiency and, more specifically, to advise on ways in which public bodies can contribute to delivery of the actions within this plan.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 includes duties on public bodies to help deliver its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. The guidance which is currently being prepared to assist public bodies in exercising their duties raises awareness of this action plan and of support which is available to bodies in pursuing energy efficiency. Such mechanisms provide opportunities to address energy efficiency across the broad range of public sector functions, including policy making, regulatory and planning functions, and the direct energy consumption from public buildings.

While higher and further education providers are not part of the public sector, they have a significant contribution to make on energy efficiency. Given their intellectual leadership and education role, these sectors will develop many of the solutions to help achieve our climate change ambitions. It is therefore important that they implement measures to reduce their own energy across their significant estates.

Most colleges and universities have completed a Carbon Management Programme, and over 80% have signed up to the Universities and Colleges Climate Commitment for Scotland ( UCCCfS). The UCCCfS requires participants to publish a 5 year Climate Change Action Plan with measurable targets to achieve emissions reductions, including from energy consumption, and to report on progress annually.

We will continue to support and work with colleges and universities to help them build upon existing work, providing access to the Carbon Management Programme and interest-free energy efficiency loans. Going forward we will engage with the Scottish Funding Council to encourage colleges and universities to utilise this support and to sign up to the UCCCfS. Through the Scottish Funding Council, we will also explore how they might feed in to the target setting and reporting which we are seeking from the public sector under this action plan.

Action 4.2 We will support public bodies to reduce the energy consumption of their estate and to embed good energy efficiency practice within their organisation by funding organisations such as the Carbon Trust to provide expert technical, behavioural and change management advice, tailored to the size of the organisation.

Working with the sector, we will ensure that public bodies 8 commit to undertake the Carbon Management Programme if they have not already done so, and to carry out a full formal review of their Carbon Management Plan at least every five years.

We will continue to implement our own Carbon Management Plan, which targets projects with the potential to deliver 20% emissions reduction by 2014 from a 2007/08 baseline. We have completed the energy efficient upgrading of the lighting system in our largest Scottish Government building, and removed bottle-fed water coolers throughout our estate. We are actively seeking further opportunities beyond those identified in the Carbon Management Plan, and will consider innovative funding mechanisms to help realise these.

In order for public bodies to play a leadership role in energy efficiency, they must have access to expert information and advice on how to implement physical measures and instil behavioural change. As set out in Chapter 9 of the consultation paper, the Carbon Trust drives energy efficiency in public sector organisations through various streams of its Carbon Management programme. Coverage of the Public Sector Carbon Management ( PSCM) programme is ever-growing and is now approaching 100 graduate organisations. This represents a sizeable majority of the carbon and energy footprint of Scotland's public sector.

The Energy Saving Trust ( EST) has also provided energy awareness advice to staff at several local authorities, enabling them to influence attitudes and behaviours in the wider community. Its training resource has now been made freely available to all Scottish local authorities and can be provided in-house with little need for external support.

The Carbon Trust has also developed a Carbon Management Assessment Tool ( CMAT), designed to allow public bodies to self-assess their performance in terms of energy efficiency and carbon management. This is already helping public bodies to build on their strengths and address any weaknesses.

It is likely that, as the public sector's understanding of energy efficiency improves, there will be a need in the medium and longer term for more in-depth advice to help individual parts of an organisation address specific issues. This could include technical subjects, such as information technology and street lighting, or change management issues, such as leadership and governance. The Carbon Trust will develop and pilot specialist modules to address such future needs.

Action 4.3 Working in partnership with the Carbon Trust and public sector representative bodies, we will develop a methodology for setting appropriate energy saving targets for the public sector in Scotland. We will then:

i. set an overarching energy saving target for the sector as a whole; and

ii. ensure, in collaboration with the sector, that all public bodies set individual annual energy efficiency targets.

In order to ensure that the Scottish public sector is accountable on energy efficiency and can effectively demonstrate that it leads by example, it will be necessary to back policies with performance reporting against clear objectives. Therefore, in terms of the overall action plan, the public sector must aspire to an energy reduction target which is at least as ambitious as any overall national energy efficiency target covering all sectors (see Section B). Together with partners such as COSLA and Health Facilities Scotland, we will develop a methodology for setting appropriate energy saving targets and set a single overarching energy saving target for the sector as a whole. We will also develop a methodology that will enable individual organisations to set their own appropriate energy saving targets, consistent with the overall sectoral target. We will ensure, in collaboration with the sector, that all public bodies set individual annual targets using this. These should be approved at Chief Executive level or equivalent, and both the target and progress on meeting it should be reported and published annually.

As public sector energy consumption data is not centrally held or reported on, we will make tools available to ensure comparable energy data collection, management and reporting across the sector. Without this, accountability and measurement of any targets for the sector will not be significantly robust.

However, although organisations increasingly need to manage energy data and produce reports, whether for the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, the Scottish Government or their own management purposes, it has become clear that one size does not fit all for public sector energy consumption reporting. We are therefore working with the Carbon Trust to develop a Data Management and Reporting Best Practice Guide. This will help public bodies to gather and report comparable energy consumption data, irrespective of which tool they use.

Developments in the context of wider sustainability reporting and data collection since publication of our consultation paper include:

  • We have supported and evaluated a pilot to assess the potential of Health Facilities Scotland's eMART (environmental Monitoring and Reporting Tool) to be used across the wider sector. We have concluded that, while the tool holds potential benefits for other parts of the sector, there is not a business case for full roll out.
  • In August 2010, we wrote to inform all bodies within the scope of reporting requirements under Section 76 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act of their mandatory obligations to accurately capture estate data, including energy consumption data. We have provided access to the well-established ePIMS (electronic Property Information Mapping Service) tool to meet these obligations.
  • The proposed changes to the Treasury's FReM (guidelines for financial reporting in central Government and other public bodies) will see sustainability reporting included in annual accounts.
  • National contracts for supply of electricity and gas include provision that suppliers must develop a suitable energy monitoring tool for clients.

Action 4.4 We will work with the Carbon Trust to develop an asset mapping approach through to 2050, initially for the largest public sector building assets.

Buildings typically account for around 80% of a public organisation's energy usage and have a long lifespan. We need to understand clearly the energy efficiency opportunities in replacing and refurbishing public sector buildings, particularly the largest ones which can deliver sizeable energy and emissions savings. We also need to understand the timing of these opportunities between now and 2020 and 2050, our target deadlines for reducing Scotland's emissions by at least 42% and 80% respectively.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is working with the Carbon Trust to pilot an asset mapping approach for boiler replacement. This will be extended to other large public sector buildings and other aspects of their energy performance, including lighting, heating and cooling systems, and the building itself. It will give organisations a clear picture of when the major energy efficiency opportunities will arise on their estate and inform target setting in future years.

Action 4.5 We will work with the Carbon Trust to produce guidance by end of March 2011 on the procurement of energy efficient, low carbon buildings in the public sector.

To supplement existing guidance, we intend to build upon the project-specific low carbon procurement support offered by the Carbon Trust and to promote a wider understanding of energy efficient building procurement across the sector. The Carbon Trust guidance will include small bodies that do not necessarily have in-house expertise in this area. This can be extended to provide guidance on the procurement of energy efficiency within major refurbishment projects and of energy efficient rented building space. It will provide a market stimulus for the provision of energy efficient buildings more widely and set an example to the broader non-domestic sector.

Once public bodies have access to energy efficient building procurement guidance, we should be able to demonstrate that this is utilised appropriately and that there is senior buy-in. We will work to ensure that all public bodies report on the indicative total energy consumption and emissions for any building which they procure. Figures should be based upon the building in use and should indicate whether it will be in the top quartile for energy performance. We will seek approval for this report at Chief Executive level or equivalent before public buildings are procured, and the report should be published.

The Scottish Sustainable Procurement Action Plan ( SSPAP, October 2009) sets out a series of steps public bodies can follow to make sustainability, including energy efficiency, part of their everyday procurement activity. It complements our work on building procurement and larger-scale energy use by focussing mainly on goods and services, which are the most frequent areas of spend. It includes reference to the UK Government's "Government Buying Standards", a range of specifications that can be used to define procurement requirements and will deliver an established minimum level of sustainability, including improved energy efficiency. Whilst the SSPAP is not mandatory for much of the public sector, it sets out good practice and its adoption will help public sector bodies to meet their commitments under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

The Scottish Procurement Directorate maintains the Construction Procurement Manual. This provides the Scottish Government and associated bodies with mandatory policy and procedures, as well as best practice guidance and advice, for delivering value for money in construction projects. Section 7 in the Construction Works Procurement Guidance chapters addresses sustainability in building procurement.

Action 4.6 We will maximise the potential of available financial support for energy efficiency projects on the public sector estate.

As well as reducing greenhouse gases, improving energy performance in the public sector will help to achieve value for money from the public purse and allow for greater medium-to-long term investment in frontline services.

Funding is available to many larger Scottish public bodies through the Central Energy Efficiency Fund ( CEEF), Salix Finance and the Scottish Government's carbon grant schemes for NHS Boards. Stakeholder feedback suggests that while CEEF has been successful in supporting refurbishment projects with a quick payback, the level of funds available and payback criteria have not catalysed many energy efficient new build projects. There are also many public bodies, particularly smaller organisations, which currently have no access to external energy saving funds.

We will undertake an evaluation of CEEF by the end of 2010 to establish where energy savings have been most effectively achieved and what the key barriers to investment are. This will inform our work to maximise existing funds.

We will engage with energy and finance managers to explore the barriers to utilising existing funds where energy saving projects have been identified; the potential for funds to enable energy efficiency investment in new build projects; and where flexibility in the existing criteria could encourage more ambitious energy saving projects.

Subject to future Spending Reviews and Parliamentary approval, we will also seek to establish a new public sector energy efficiency fund that will be open to both smaller and larger bodies and will be of sufficient scale to encourage more ambitious projects. Discussions will be required with the sector to ensure that any future fund would be effective. However, as an example, we believe that £5 million of investment, with money allocated following a competitive bidding process, could deliver savings of over £15 million in energy bills and nearly 100,000 tonnes of CO 2 over a ten-year period.

Where no external funding is available, there must be senior level recognition of the benefits of investing in energy saving projects. Payback is often very short, leading to quick realisation of future savings. We will engage with senior managers to ensure that energy saving projects with brief payback periods are not routinely ignored for financial reasons.

As part of our wider work to finance energy efficiency (see Section C9), we will consider how the public sector can best align itself more broadly with existing and prospective funding opportunities. One example of this is the prospect of significant extra funding to help regions and cities become more energy efficient, announced earlier this year by the European Commission. 9 This has potential to benefit local authorities that are signed up to the Covenant of Mayors, membership of which demonstrates commitment to go beyond a 20% emissions reduction by 2020 and can place local authorities well in any endeavours to secure European funding support for energy saving projects. We will support COSLA's ambition to encourage Scottish Lord Provosts to sign up to the Covenant of Mayors.

Action 4.7 We will promote the reporting of public sector energy consumption, including by:

i. publishing details of the Scottish Government's weekly energy consumption in our headquarter buildings by Spring 2011. This will be supported by rolling out the installation of Automated Meter Reading equipment for electricity and gas across those buildings that we are required to report on under the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.

ii. working with the public sector to ensure that all public bodies report on their energy consumption, and their progress in attempting to reduce this, at regular internal board meetings.

Many of those who responded to the consultation paper agreed that energy consumption and energy efficiency progress should be reported at public bodies' senior board meetings. This would help to raise further the profile of energy efficiency with senior managers and ensure that it is accorded the same importance as areas such as health and safety, the regular reporting of which is seen as standard practice. We will report publicly on our own energy consumption by publishing details of the weekly energy consumption in our headquarter buildings by Spring 2011.

It is important that good practice is shared throughout the public sector, especially between organisations where common issues often arise. Groups such as the Scottish Energy Officers Network of local authority energy managers ( SEON) and the High Level Group - Sustainable Scotland, which has superseded the Leading by Example External High Level Group (see Conserve and Save consultation paper, p.115), continue to support energy performance improvements in the sector. On wider climate change issues, the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change and COSLA's Spokesperson for Regeneration and Sustainable Development co-chair the Public Sector Climate Action Group to lead Scotland's public sector in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Many mechanisms are already in place to share the good work underway. We will work with the sector to maximise the effectiveness of appropriate existing groups, including the Sustainable Scotland Network, the Leading by Example initiative and SEON. We will also work informally with organisations who have shared interests, such as cohorts of Carbon Management Programme graduates. Where organisations are undertaking innovative energy efficiency work, we will develop case studies so that the wider sector is aware of the exemplary work being undertaken locally and best practice is shared.