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Away from Class G

Away from Class G


Durham County in the north of England provides an outstanding example of using Display®, which is integral to the County’s approach to sustainable development. In 2003, Durham County Council made a public commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and water consumption in its buildings by 10% within five years. Addressing climate change is now a corporate Council priority, as is a target to have no buildings in the Display® energy, CO2, or water class ‘G’ by April 2008. In Durham County all public buildings have the Display® Poster visible. Elected members like the simplicity of the Poster and they have been given a list of questions to ask when visiting buildings, such as: "Is it necessary to have the heating on and the windows open?"

Building overview

Type of buildings

Durham has a total of 642 public buildings, some of which are shared with other users or leased. Durham’s buildings include:
* 39 libraries
* 4 museums
* 6 careers offices
* 12 nursery schools
* 226 infant and primary schools (12 with swimming pool)
* 36 secondary schools (4 with swimming pool)
* 11 special schools
* 44 Sure Start facilities (note: Sure Start is the Government’s programme to bring together early education, childcare, health and family support)
* 11 other education buildings
* 7 depots
* 13 day centres
* 11 residential care homes
* 28 social care offices
* 103 social care premises
* 14 registrars offices
* 42 youth and community centres
* 1 administrative building
* 34 other buildings, including industrial units, County farms and storage buildings.

Energy/CO2/Water label The graphs below show the percentage of Durham County Council buildings in each Display® energy, CO2 and water rating (A-G) for 2004 and 2005.


Project description

Aim Durham County Council’s goal is to have no buildings in the energy, CO2, or water class ‘G’ by April 2008.
Key points Surveys

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.

Short-term measures:

* 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.

Reason for inclusion as Shining Example

Durham County Council’s ‘Away from Class G’ project is an excellent example of how the Display® tool has been incorporated into a strategy to improve the energy and water performance of the Council’s entire building stock. Using Display® the Council was able to classify all of their buildings in terms of energy and water performance and CO2 emissions, and then systematically work to improve poorer-performing buildings through both technical measures and encouraging behavioural change among building users. By using this systematic approach, Durham was able to capitalise on the potential for greater savings per Euro spent by focusing on the general improvement of all poorer-performing buildings through relatively simple and cost-effective measures, rather than attempting to bring a handful of buildings into much higher energy and water rating bands.

Costs and benefits

Costs & funding The costs of this project were minimal. There was the cost of joining the Display® Campaign and the subsequent annual fee. Joining the Campaign coincided with the conversion of a building management system serving 50 sites into a stand-alone operation; so there was spare capacity within the Council’s energy team to implement the scheme. The energy team consists of three technical staff. One is responsible for electricity, one for water and building fabric, and one for gas and other fuels. Each officer inputs data onto a TEAM monitoring and targeting database. The annual consumption data to produce a Display® Poster is input into the Display® calculation tool, which takes a few minutes. It takes as long to put the poster in an envelope and address it!
Benefits Results:

Average energy consumption 2004 - 403 kWh/m2

Average energy consumption 2005 - 378 kWh/m2

Improvement - 6.3%

_ CO2 emissions 2004 - 88 kg/m2

CO2 emissions 2005 - 72 kg/m2

Improvement - 18.5%

_ Average water consumption 2004 - 1,166 l/m2

Average water consumption 2005 - 1,100 l/m2

Improvement 5%

_ In financial terms, it is estimated that for the 2005 calendar year had the Council not carried out the initiative, energy and water costs would have been €170,000 (£116,000) greater, although this is difficult to quantify in a market with rising energy costs.

Partnership details

Partners and role Several partners were involved in the energy and water efficiency improvements at Durham County Council.
Northumbrian Water (a water and waste water services company) provided publicity material for the toilet cistern dams and Npower (a gas and electricity supplier) provided publicity material and CFLs.
Tees and Durham Energy Agency carried out energy surveys for the non-education buildings.
The secondary schools and primary schools with swimming pools were surveyed by the Carbon Trust.
TEAM Energy Auditing Agency provided the smart metering programme (note: TEAM supplies ‘monitoring and targeting’ software, which is used to collect, interpret and report information on utility use).


Achievements Achievements

Durham County Council received a commendation in the Environment Agency Water Efficiency Awards 2007. These awards recognise organisations that cut down on the water they use, helping to conserve this precious resource. Leading by example, these organisations show what water efficiency means in practice, and how water-saving schemes make good financial sense. (Note: The Environment Agency is the leading public body for protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales.)

The Council has also been accredited under the Energy Efficiency Accreditation Scheme. This Scheme is the United Kingdom’s only independent award recognising achievements in reducing energy use by leading organisations in industry, commerce and the public sector. The Carbon Trust has overall responsibility for the Scheme.

Accreditation is awarded by the Energy Institute, the leading professional body for the energy industries and the Scheme is managed by the National Energy Foundation (NEF) on behalf of the Carbon Trust. (Note: The National Energy Foundation is an independent educational charity. Its objective is to work for the more efficient, innovative, and safe use of energy and to increase public awareness of energy.)

Also, Durham County Council’s Display® Poster campaign was a finalist in the 2006 Building Services Environment Initiative of the Year award and won a commendation.

Identification of obstacles and recommendations

When the Energy Management Unit sent Display® Posters out to all of the Council’s buildings, some people complained that the A3 posters were too large to be put up in a prominent location.

Some academically good schools with poor energy performance have been reluctant to put the Poster in the entrance of the school and the Posters have been installed in the staffroom instead.

Some Council-elected members have expressed concern about the poor performance of some new buildings.

A suggested improvement to the Poster could be to have a ’ghost’ of last year’s performance shown on the current year’s poster instead of displaying two Posters.

Lessons learned Operational performance in some types of building in the UK varies compared with the same building types in Europe. For example, based on Durham’s experience, the performance of UK libraries is good, whereas that of Social Services residential care homes is poor.

To know more

Organisation name: Durham County Council
Contact: Jeff Kirton
Phone: +44 (0)191 383 3749

Useful info

Links: Water Reduction Programme 2005-06
Arrangements to visit: Contact Jeff Kirton or Graham Garrity (0191 383 3216)

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