Carbon Reduction Targets
The Climate Change Act 2008 set legally binding targets for the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 34% by 2020 and at least 80% by 2050 (both targets against a 1990 baseline).
The government’s Low Carbon Transition Plan, published in July 2009, sets out how the UK will meet the 34 percent cut in emissions on 1990 levels by 2020. In this document, it states that "Every part of Government will need to help drive the transition that is needed to live within the UK’s carbon budgets. For the first time, each major government department will have its own carbon budget representing its share of responsibility … From April 2010, it will also include emissions from schools, further and higher education institutions and the NHS.”
This means that targets for the FE sector are imminent. The LSC and BIS (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) have been undertaking research to establish a baseline of emissions and propose indicative targets based on a range of scenarios to inform the development of the carbon reduction strategy. FURTHER GUIDANCE FOR THE FE SECTOR IS EXPECTED TO BE ISSUED IN APRIL 2010.
Regardless of the outcome of the Carbon Reduction Target for the
FE sector, the
CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme is a mandatory carbon trading
scheme for large non-energy intensive organisations using more than
6,000MWh per year of electricity. You will need to be aware if you
are required to comply with this scheme. The
CRC Insight Guide gives a good overview of the scheme, with a
flow-diagram to work through to determine if your organisation is
Help and advice
Scotland’s universities and colleges have publicly declared their intention to address the challenges of climate change and reduce their carbon footprints by signing the Universities and Colleges Climate Commitment for Scotland (UCCCfS). Signatories are committed to producing and publishing a 5-year Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) which will include measurable targets and timescales to achieve a significant reduction in emissions from all business operations and activities, and their publish annual results on progress, detailing outcomes achieved and further actions required. Underpinning the UCCCfS is a package of support facilitated by the EAUC. More information is available here.
Four simple steps to get your Carbon Reduction started
Set up a Carbon Reduction Steering Group to focus efforts. Working as a group ensures that tasks are spread out, and the group will have a key role in keeping momentum going.
The key to reducing carbon emissions is to first understand the amount energy consumed. Ensure that meters are regularly read and recorded. These readings can then be used to check the accuracy of bills, as well as be used to start to understand patterns of energy used.
If a history of meter readings do not exist, calculate a baseline energy consumption using a year’s worth of bills (with accurate readings if possible, rather than estimated).
Once this baseline is known, future consumption can be compared against it, and the effectiveness of energy saving measures and campaigns can be monitored. Setting energy reduction targets and publicising these shows commitment to make change, and will raise awareness of saving energy throughout the organisation.
Once a baseline had been calculated, the next step is to identify how to reduce the energy demand. For sites with an energy bill of over £50,000 per year, the Carbon Trust can provide a free survey to identify energy saving opportunities. Call the Carbon Trust on 0800 085 2005.
In addition to the Carbon Trust survey, an out-of-hours energy survey is an invaluable insight to excessive energy use. This survey entails a site walk-around in an evening or over a weekend, looking (and listening) for any equipment that is left on. Computers, photocopiers, lighting, fume cupboards, air conditioning, heating, etc can all be identified this way.
Take notes of what findings, and discuss with those responsible reasons for equipment being left on. There may be underlying reasons, or assumptions that can be uncovered, that prevent the equipment from being left off, and these should be followed up as to their accuracy and necessity.
By undertaking the Carbon Trust survey, and out-of-hours survey, various energy saving measures and ideas will have come to light. Develop a plan of what needs to be implemented, and prioritise action to get the energy savings underway.
Useful Carbon Trust
publications (download at end of page):
• FHE walk around checklist (CTL 082)
• FHE sector overview on low and no cost energy saving measures (CTV 020)
• Energy efficiency in FHE – cost-effective low energy buildings (ECG 054)
• Energy efficiency in PFI / PPP contracts in HFE (GPG 321)
As part of the UCCCfS project (see above, Dumfries and Galloway College have produced Carbon Commitment Action Plans (CCAPs) for their two sites. Although these are for the Scottish scheme, the action planning they have documented is a good example of how to approach carbon reductions on the estate. See links to documents below.
Continue the journey
Steps to take now…
- Follow the flow diagram on page 3 of the CRC insight guide to ascertain your CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme responsibilities.
- If you are under the responsibility of the local authority, or LSC, contact them for details of your Carbon Reduction Target responsibilities, or to be updated when further information is available.
- Set up a Steering Group, contact the Carbon Trust for a free survey, identify where energy can be saved in your estate, and develop a plan to prioritise taking action to reduce energy use.