The first step towards achieving the goal of the project was to undertake surveys of all Council buildings. The purpose of the surveys was to assess what work would need to be undertaken to improve the energy and water performance of the buildings.
The surveys for all of the buildings except the schools were carried out by Tees and Durham Energy Agency (TADEA) - a not-for-profit organisation. The secondary schools and primary schools with swimming pools were surveyed by the Carbon Trust. (Note: the Carbon Trust is an independent company funded by the UK Government, which works with UK businesses and the public sector to cut carbon emissions and develop commercial low carbon technologies.). Primary schools were surveyed as part of an asset management plan and there is a proposal for them to have a comprehensive energy survey.
The surveys identified short-term no-cost/low-cost measures and medium- to long-term measures. All of the short-term measures had a payback period of less than 2 years and the medium-term measures had a payback period of 2 - 5 years. The potential savings were calculated for gas and electricity in £, tonnes of CO2 and kWh. The surveys are incorporated into the Council’s asset management plan for prioritisation and implementation.
_ Energy reduction programme
A copy of each survey was given to the officer in charge of each building. As an example of the measures recommended, below are the main recommendations for Lynwood House Lanchester, a residential care home for older people.
* Label all light switches and use them
* Change tungsten lights for modern compact fluorescent (CFL) equivalents
* Insulate all valves, fittings, flanges and exposed pipe in the boiler house
* Isolate surplus boilers during summer months and any warmer periods
* Instigate staff awareness training
* Switch off hot water heaters at night
* Turn down or switch off kitchen extractor fans
* Turn off gas hob burners when not in use
* Install light sensor controls
Medium term measures:
* Top-up loft insulation to new recommended minimum depth
* Consider installing thermostatic radiator valves to the space heating system
* Install fan convectors and double glazing to communal areas
_ Water Reduction Programme
The Council had already fitted a range of water-saving devices including urinal controls, tap restrictors and toilet cistern reducers to conserve water. However, it was thought that there was still the potential to increase water efficiency awareness among the Council’s building users. This is being tackled through the Display® Campaign, as well as two other projects, Form F1 monthly meter readings, and advanced smart metering.
The presence of Display® Posters in all Council buildings helps to raise user’s awareness of both the energy and water efficiencies achievable.
The second strand of the project is Form F1 monthly meter readings. F1 forms were introduced in the 1970’s as part of caretakers’ duties. The form has weekly dates on which caretakers are requested to take meter readings, and it includes the following information:
* Meter serial number and the location of the meter
* A comments box for caretakers to note any abnormal readings, meter changes or problems
* A reminder, which varies each month. This month it is ’Switch the heating from winter to summer setting’
A site plan is issued with the form indicating the location of main and check meters and boiler houses, plant rooms and switch rooms. The completed forms are returned to the Council’s Energy Management Unit (EMU) on a monthly basis, where the meter readings are compared, and any irregularities immediately looked into. There is a 100% return rate for gas and electricity meter readings but less for water meter readings as some meters are located under heavy covers in footpaths. In these cases lifting tools are provided, along with a training course and caretakers are asked to take monthly readings.
_ Smart metering
Finally, Durham County Council is taking part in the Carbon Trust’s Advanced Metering project. Three of the Council’s schools currently have their meters modified so they can be automatically read and the data transmitted direct to a website that can be seen at any time by a member of the EMU team. This enables the EMU team to take action when any unusual changes in consumption are identified.
This year the Council is going to tender for ’smart metering’ for all electricity meters. While the cost per site is inexpensive, no one wants their electricity switched off during the working day so arrangements will have to be made to change meters after hours or at weekends (at an additional cost). Heat meters have been installed in some primary schools because a number of Sure Start facilities have been added to primary schools and they often share the same boiler plant, but are open longer hours.
Smart meters for water are also being considered for some sites where the existing meters are difficult to access.