We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and managing energy costs through effective energy procurement, conservation, and efficiency.
Our Climate Emergency Strategy sets out energy objectives and the built environment. Appendix 6 of this directly addresses the Energy Sector.
One of our key objectives is to work towards achieving Net Zero status across our estate and operations by 2030.
Another is the decarbonisation of heat. We are delivering specific projects to achieve this through fabric upgrades, and the replacement of fossil-fuelled heating with things like Air Source Heat Pumps. We are taking a ‘whole building’ approach to maximise efficiency and savings.
Our in-house Bureau Service manages our energy usage and consumption using dedicated software (Team Sigma) and is developing a plan to roll out Smart Metering (AMR) across our estate.
Nationally, the ‘net zero target’ refers to a government commitment to ensure the UK reduces its greenhouse gas emissions by 100% from 1990 levels by 2050. If met, this would mean the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the UK would be equal to or less than the emissions removed by the UK from the environment.
Somerset Council’s long and medium-term corporate goals are:
- Manage energy costs and consumption
- Invest in energy efficiency (spend to save)
- Consider life-cycle costs for all new projects, good and services
- Minimise environmental impact
- Where financially beneficial, purchase and use energy from sustainable sources such as Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO)/ Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) and medium to long-term purchase energy from PPAs
Our short-term objectives are to:
- Ensure the Energy Policy is being delivered
- Provide management reports on cost and consumption
- Set and publish energy and CO2 performance targets
- Report performance changes and improvements annually
- Ensure compliance with legislation
- Commission a regular programme of energy audits and ensure all relevant Council buildings have a Display Energy Certificate and Advisory Report
- Manage energy and water costs within buildings
- Increase staff awareness
- Secure competitive unit costs for gas and electricity supplies
- Monitor and target energy usage
- Take account of the opportunities for energy savings that arise out of the rationalisation of the estate and individual buildings
- Specify energy efficient design of new or refurbished buildings, and procure energy efficient plant and equipment
Energy saving initiatives at Somerset Council include:
- The ‘Watt’s On?’ energy awareness campaign, which encourages employees to be environmentally savvy in the workplace
- Property rationalisation
- Improving the energy efficiency of buildings and street lighting
- Procuring energy effectively to reduce running costs
- Delivery of Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) joint-funded schemes (and others) to decarbonise properties such as Yeovil and Minehead Libraries, County Hall in Taunton and others
The UK’s transition to Net Zero targets a 2050 completion by Central Government and Somerset’s aspiration of 2030 and the progress made towards this show how Somerset Council is leading by example.
Free advice for Somerset residents
Somerset residents who are interested in energy efficiency and saving money off their fuel bills can get free advice and support from the Home Energy Team at the Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol.
The Home Energy Team can advise you about understanding your energy bills, your heating system and on everything from simple no cost-low tips through to financing large scale energy saving improvements.
In addition, further support is available to Somerset residents who are struggling to keep their homes warm, finding it difficult to keep on top of their bills or need advice on grants for home improvements. Freephone: 0800 082 2234
Renewable energy technologies convert the energy of the wind, waves, sun, growing crops and moving water into power we can use to boil a kettle, drive a car or heat our homes. We have produced a strategy that outlines how Somerset may be able to make better use of renewable energy. We can signpost you to organisations that provide information and advice on renewable energy.
We have implemented a number of renewable energy installations across our estate including a Photovoltaic array (solar panels) at our offices in Taunton.
This installation was supported with grant funding of 65% of the cost from the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI’s) Major Photovoltaic Demonstration Programme which aimed to reduce photovoltaic prices through encouraging their application on a large scale.
The 142 m² photovoltaic array contains 120 cells that generate up to 19,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity each year, which will in turn save approximately 8 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
Greenhouse gas emissions
Somerset Council is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and climate change.
To monitor and manage the Council’s carbon footprint, data is collected and verified from a variety of sources.
The data is converted by the relevant DEFRA CO2e conversion factor for each reporting year, and is categorised by scope – Scope 1, 2 or 3 emissions.
Scope 1 (Direct emissions): Activities owned or controlled by an organisation that release emissions straight into the atmosphere. Examples of scope 1 emissions include emissions from combustion in owned or controlled boilers, owned or controlled vehicles.
Scope 2 (Energy indirect): Emissions being released into the atmosphere associated with the consumption of purchased electricity, heat, steam and cooling. These are indirect emissions that are a consequence of an organisation’s activities, but which occur at sources that an organisation does not control. The most common type of scope 2 emission is electricity purchased for own consumption from the National Grid or third party.
Scope 3 (Other indirect): Emissions are discretionary to include that are a consequence of an organisations actions, which occurs at sources which an organisation does not own or control and which are not classified by scope 2 emissions. Examples of scope 3 emissions include business travel not owned of controlled by an organisation (for example, public transport), commuting, use of grey fleet (use of employee’s own cars), emissions from contractors, and supply chain procurement.
Somerset Council’s baseline year is the financial year 2010-11. Reducing the Council’s carbon footprint is a key priority in the plan and performance is monitored throughout the year.
Since 2010, the Council has implemented a Sustainable Business Travel Policy, invested in energy efficiency improvements across its property estate and street lighting. It will continue to make sure energy is being managed effectively to reduce the Council’s environmental impact and to manage bottom line spend on energy.
Energy Bureau Service
We provide a comprehensive energy management service to schools, public sector and not for profit organisations.
Our aim is to help our customers to reduce what they spend on energy and cut carbon emissions. We achieve this through effective energy procurement to get the best prices and by providing our customers with energy conservation advice and tools to help them identify and reduce energy waste.
The service that we provide includes:
- Access to value for money contacts for electricity and gas supply
- Bill checking and cost recovery
- Tools to support energy management (AMR, online energy management portal)
- Energy budget information, market news and general advice on conservation and efficiency to help you minimise costs
- General advice on energy efficiency and renewable energy, including identifying potential savings
- Advice on complying with energy legislation
- Assistance with carbon reporting
Our comprehensive service saves you time and money by managing your contracts with suppliers, checking your utility bills and providing you with the latest technical support.
Schools, local authorities, housing associations, charities, and not for profit organisations are all eligible to access the Council’s energy supply and bureau service.