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UK: Public sector can save £1 billion through energy efficiency

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The Carbon Trust has identified immediate opportunities for the public sector to achieve net savings of £1 billion through energy efficiency projects, it was announced today. The projects proposed could reduce carbon emissions from public organisations by some 46 million tonnes over their lifetime: roughly equivalent to the carbon footprint of London in one year.
The announcement was made at a meeting in London of around 200 public sector organisations that have worked with the Carbon Trust to reduce their energy bills and carbon footprints. It was also announced that energy efficiency projects already implemented by the public sector with the help of the Carbon Trust are on track to deliver net cost savings of over £400 million along with a reduction in CO2 emissions of 10 million tonnes over the lifetime of projects.

Richard Rugg, Head of Public Sector at the Carbon Trust, today called on more hospitals, universities, local authorities and central government organisations to cut their costs by joining its carbon management programmes. “Today, public sector organisations are working in an incredibly tough environment with cost cutting right at the top of the agenda,” said Richard Rugg. “In 2011, actively managing energy and carbon must form an essential part of any efficiency strategy for every single public sector organisation – from the smallest local councils to the biggest NHS Trusts.  We want to see more organisations stepping forward to take up the challenge.”

Over 2,500 NHS trusts, higher education institutions, schools, local authorities, central government organisations, police and fire services have worked with the Carbon Trust over the last eight years to cut their spending and carbon emissions. Several hundred of these have participated in the Carbon Trust’s annual carbon management programmes that help organisations to develop and implement long-term and effective carbon management plans and to cut their energy expenditure.

One of them is Oxford City Council. “Working with the Carbon Trust has brought Oxford City Council real results,” said Melbourne Barrett, Executive Director - City Regeneration, Oxford City Council. “We set ourselves an ambitious target to cut carbon by 25% and with the support of the Carbon Trust we are achieving just that. Our story shows real change is possible and we’d definitely encourage other organisations to follow our lead and reap the rewards.”

Local authorities that have worked with the Carbon Trust through their carbon management programme are expecting to see £367m of net cost savings over the lifetime of the projects they implement; higher education institutions are expecting to save up to £48m; while NHS projects are expecting to save over £153 million. Successful carbon management measures taken include more energy efficient heating and lighting systems, improving buildings and changing travel policies. Organisations participating in the carbon management programmes develop plans to cut their carbon footprints by an average of 30% over five years.

The Carbon Trust is now taking applications for its 2011 carbon management programmes, and the deadline is December 31, 2010. Full information can be found at Among the hundreds of organisations that have already participated in the Carbon Trust’s public sector carbon management programmes are Coventry City Council, Cambridge University and Guys & St Thomas’s hospital in London.