Simple changes to the way Gwynedd Council operates have led to significant financial savings and a reduction in its carbon footprint.
Since introducing its ambitious Carbon Management Plan a year ago, the Council has seen energy use in its buildings fall by ten per cent and has already led to annual revenue savings of more than £120,000 as a result.
Despite the harsh winter of 2010/11 the Council has managed to cut the amount of electricity and gas used in its offices, depots, leisure centres, libraries and care homes by introducing new measures such as better insulation, new heating controls and installing more efficient lighting.
The Council’s IT department has also been working hard to ensure that the computer servers are managed effectively and have removed energy wasting air conditioning systems.
Changes have also been seen in leisure centres with the installation of pool covers at almost all swimming pools so energy sapping fans do not have to be used through the night to prevent evaporation and condensation build-up.
The Council has more such schemes in the pipeline for this year and is currently looking at investing in renewable energy technologies on a number of sites.
Councillor Gareth Roberts, Gwynedd Council’s Environmental Portfolio Leader, said:
“It is widely accepted that carbon emissions are responsible for climate change which is one of the greatest threats to our way of life at present. We feel a responsibility to create a low carbon Council and hopefully this will lead to a low carbon county.
“I am delighted with the changes which have already been implemented and the results that we are seeing. It shows that by making an upfront investment we can all reduce how much energy we use and how much carbon is produced. Some of the changes we have introduced don’t even cost anything, it just means doing things in a different way.
“This is truly a win-win situation – we are saving money during these difficult economic times as well as reducing our impact on the natural environment.”
Gwynedd Council has committed itself to an ambitious target of reducing its carbon output by 60% by 2021. This involves reducing emissions from its operational buildings, waste, street lighting, fleet and business travel by 30% by 2015. This could lead to annual revenue savings of £900,000.