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Environmental Champions spread the word on conserving energy in Walsall Council


Walsall Council is one of seven districts that comprise the West Midlands County, which by population is the largest Metropolitan area outside Greater London. The Council’s Property Services – Energy Conservation Unit, is responsible for implementing energy and water conservation measures throughout the authority’s operational buildings.

Walsall Council has a strategic objective to become a leading council in the field of environmental sustainability. The Council has set an ambitious target of reducing their energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 12.5% over the next five years. To this end, the Council has invested in several energy efficiency projects. In addition, the Council is focusing on involving their 7,000 staff and encouraging them to be energy aware in the home and the workplace. In order to raise awareness, Energy Champions have been recruited and a number of special events have been held to engage staff in energy efficiency projects.

Building details

Type of building: Walsall Council has 500 properties with an annual energy and water bill of €5.7 million (£4.0 million). The Council’s buildings include schools, office buildings, town halls, sports and leisure centres, day and community centres, residential care homes, libraries, museums, depots and public conveniences.
Display posters: Walsall Council has recently finished producing and distributing A3 and A4 Display® posters for all of their buildings.

Project Description

Aim In order to reduce the environmental impact of their estate and to reduce costs, Walsall Council is focusing attention on measures to reduce energy and water consumption, having set a corporate target to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 12.5% over the next five years.
Key points Technical measures

_ From 2005 to 2007, Walsall Council has invested in several projects to improve the water and energy efficiency of their sites, including:

- Boiler replacement and energy efficient lighting installed in 30 schools
- Heat plate exchanger for the provision of hot water to changing rooms at a leisure centre
- Energy efficient pump in a swimming pool
- Pool covers in several pools


- Variable speed drives for air conditioning fans, heating and pool motors in four leisure centres, with an estimated saving of 217,000 kWh/year
- A micro-Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Unit in a rehabilitation centre
- Programmable timers for hot water heaters in several buildings, including the Town Hall


- Insulation of hot water system cylinder, pipework, valves and flanges in two leisure centres and a sports pavilion

GIF - 68 kb

- Rain water harvesting and solar hot water at an activity centre

- Urinal controls and push-taps in several different building types, including a library, a leisure centre and a residential home


_ Raising awareness

_ Involving staff and encouraging them to be energy aware at home and in the workplace is a key priority for Walsall Council. An elemental component in raising awareness among staff was the establishment of a group of ‘Environmental Champions’. The Environmental Champions group has a key role in developing and embedding greater awareness within and on behalf of the Council in relation to the environmental impacts of Council policies and practises in general, and the effects of climate change in particular. The group carries out energy awareness programmes to ensure that good housekeeping initiatives are communicated effectively.

Within this context, the role of the group is as follows:

- To provide bottom up support to green policies

- To provide the council’s face of sustainability/green conscience for implementing green policies and engaging colleagues in the process of positive change

- To provide commitment to making a difference in respective service areas – a beacon of good environmental practice across the council reinforcing green ethics

- To provide input to the planning and roll out of campaigns in relation to energy conservation, waste reduction and recycling, green travel, green procurement, biodiversity, composting and water efficiency

- To raise both the understanding of environmental champions and colleagues in their respective work areas of environmental sustainability issues and associated policies and plans

- To provide a forum for ensuring mutual support to tackle issues relating to the remit of the group and the role of individual champions as and when they arise

- To support specialists as necessary within the council in the development and communication of advice and information, for example in relation to the delivery of presentations, prepared by the specialist, which the champions take to relevant parts of the service to cascade key environmental messages throughout the council.

_ In addition, the Council has run a series of special events to encourage staff to buy-in to energy efficiency projects. Staff have been encouraged to sign up to ‘pledge sheets’ to promise a number of green resolutions in their everyday working lives going beyond energy efficiency and into transport and recycling.

_ Energy policy

_ Walsall Council has in place an energy management action plan, which considers the need for the Council to tackle climate change by reducing its energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

_ The action plan proposes solutions such as encouraging renewable energy, the energy labelling and performance monitoring of buildings, and carbon trading.

_ Key proposals in the plan include:

- Undertaking building energy surveys of all of the council’s buildings in order to establish opportunities for reducing energy consumption by implementing cost-effective energy efficiency measures

- Developing guidance to ensure optimum energy efficiency of new buildings and refurbishments

- Incorporating sustainability issues as part of the Council’s corporate procurement policy

- Occupying new low energy office buildings

- Using the Council’s Building Energy Management Systems to remotely control heating and ventilation systems

- Investigating sites which have the potential to be supplied by renewable energy such as biomass, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic, wind and ground source technologies.

Reason for inclusion as Shining Example: This shining example shows how Walsall Council is strongly committed to reducing their energy and water consumption. In order to do this, they have set targets for reductions and are undertaking a number of different projects, involving both the installation of technical measures and activities aimed at raising awareness and involving staff in energy efficiency projects. Walsall Council is aiming to be the greenest council in England by 2021.


Achievements Walsall Council’s commitment to reducing their energy and water consumption is demonstrated by their numerous achievements to date, including:

- Energy Institute/Carbon Trust Energy Efficiency Accreditation in July 2006 for achievements in energy efficiency (note: The Energy Efficiency Accreditation Scheme is an independent award scheme recognising the achievements of businesses and organisations in industry, commerce and the public sector in reducing energy)
- The Council purchased 13.95 GWh of green and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) electricity (covering 1 April 2005 – 31 March 2008)
- Funding secured from the Carbon Trust for the Carbon Management Energy Efficiency programme, which is undertaking CHP feasibility studies for four leisure centres in the 2006/07 financial year (note: The Carbon Trust is an independent company funded by the UK Government, who works with UK business and the public sector to cut carbon emissions and develop commercial low carbon technologies)
- Energy surveys for 30 sites funded by the Carbon Trust, including surveys of the Council’s ten least efficient buildings (2006/07)
- Ongoing delivery of a staff energy awareness programme
- Reduced energy consumption by 10.77 MWh and carbon emissions by 3,500 tonnes (2006/07)
- €394,000 (£275,000) invested in energy and water saving projects for the financial years 2005/06 and 2006/07

Kwame Alex-Eyitene, Walsall Council’s Energy Manager, receiving the Council’s Energy Efficiency Accreditation

To know more



Walsall Council
Contact Kwame Alex-Eyitene
Phone +44 (0)1922-471257

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