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Energy Saving Fund established


Dozens of Birmingham City Council buildings are set to benefit from a €2.2 million (£1.5 million) budget to help tackle climate change. Birmingham City Council has recently launched a €2.2 million (£1.5 million) Energy Saving Fund to pay for measures to reduce energy and water use in non-school municipal buildings. Energy efficiency measures installed using this funding will help the Council meet its target of cutting CO2 emissions by 20% by 2010.

Project description

Aim The aim of the Energy Saving Fund is to improve the energy and water performance of Birmingham City Council buildings.
Key points The Energy Saving Fund (ESF) was recently approved by the Council’s Cabinet [governing body]. Savings made through reduced energy and water use will be reinvested in other energy and sustainability schemes across the Council.

The Council’s Urban Design’s Sustainability and Energy Management team is leading the project. The first task for the project is to survey all Council buildings identified as high-energy users. The surveys will pinpoint reasons for high energy or water use and help identify solutions, with work to install new equipment likely to start early in 2008.

Council Deputy Leader Paul Tilsley, whose portfolio includes sustainability, said: “The ESF is about investing now to reduce both our impact on the environment, and our energy use, in the future. Measures to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions will range from simple draught-proofing strips for doors and windows to sophisticated sensors that use motion detectors to switch on lights when needed.” Measures under the ESF to reduce energy use and CO2 emissions range from the simple to the sophisticated, and could include:

- Insulation in walls or roofs

- Zoned heating, to supply heat only where and when it is needed. On large sites, several different zones can operate

- Draught-proofing strips, which cost as little as €7.50 (£5) per metre, but can save the 20% of heat lost through gaps around doors, windows and skirting boards

- Solar film on windows, which keep the sun’s heat out in summer, reducing the need for air conditioning or fans, and reduce warmth lost in winter

- Automatic lighting controls using time switches, motion detectors or light sensors to switch on lights only when needed

- Thermostatic radiator valves, which cost around €45 (£30) each, but save 10% of each radiator’s energy use by improving their efficiency

- Localised water heaters, which allow areas using large amounts of hot water – such as kitchens – to have a supply separate from the rest of the building

- Swimming pool covers, which reduce both heat and water loss through evaporation

- Intelligent water metering, which enables the identification of times of peak demand and the detection of leaks

Pool cover

Reasons for inclusion as shining Example Birmingham City Council has shown their strong commitment to reducing their energy and water use and CO2 emissions by providing a significant level of funding to improve the energy and water performance of their buildings. By tackling the highest energy consumers first, the Council should be able to make significant improvements to their building stock and this will be reflected in their improved Display® ratings for the buildings.

Costs and benefits

Costs and funding The €2.2 million (£1.5 million) for the Energy Saving Fund is being provided by the Council. This will be used for the initial investments. The monetary savings enabled by the reduction of energy consumption will be paid back into the fund enabling it to become self-perpetuating.
Benefits Reducing the energy and water use of Birmingham City Council’s buildings by installing technical measures should result in significant savings of energy, water, CO2 emissions and money. The extent of these savings will be easier to predict once the building surveys have been completed.

The first tranche of improvements included the installation of pool covers at several Leisure Centres. This has already resulted in a rapid reduction in the energy consumption at the selected sites by enabling the reduction of night ventilation.

Partnership details

Partners & role No partnerships were formed specifically for the implementation of the ESF. The identified schemes are being delivered through existing partnerships.


Achievements The fund was created from a bid put into the Council, which was supported by a Cabinet Member enabling it to be placed high on the agenda.

The evaluation and monitoring of the scheme will be ongoing throughout its implementation. Currently there are no known problems.

Lessons learned The major hurdle of the scheme is the finance; there are various aspects to be considered when applying for monies, which are different for each council. These should be identified at the beginning of the scheme to enable them to be solved.

To know more

Organistation name: Birmingham City Council
Contact: Coral Tiling
Phone: +44 (0)1 213 036 530

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