Reducing our organisational carbon footprint
Since adopting our first climate change strategy in May 2010 we have made progress to reduce our own impact on the environment.
A key area was better monitoring and management of our energy usage. We have installed smart meters in all our buildings and we supported schools to install them too.
We have installed solar panels on 16 council-owned buildings to generate zero-carbon electricity from a renewable energy source. The sites include schools, libraries, care centres, our main office Priory House, and Rushmere Country Park visitor centre and we have another installation planned for the near future.
The combined generation of zero carbon energy from the council’s buildings is estimated to produce over 540,000 kWh of electricity and reduces the council’s carbon footprint by 154 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum. Solar panels installed at our Priory House offices provide nearly a third (30 per cent) of the buildings’ annual electricity usage, saving over 58 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
We have also recently made significant changes to the way we work; we have reduced paper usage by 30 per cent and car mileage by almost ten per cent in three years by using remote working and conference calls. We’ve also invested in our first electric vehicles and plan to add more as current leases expire.
We’re also reducing our use of plastic as we recognise the impact that plastic, particularly single use is having on the environment.