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Cutting energy bills and carbon emissions in the public and higher education sectors

  • The Government sought evidence and views about the action required to deliver an ambitious decarbonisation programme across the public and higher education sectors, in England over the next 10 years.

    Objectives of the consultation

    Central government has already set carbon targets for its own estate and has made good progress in cutting emissions through the Greening Government Commitments. By 2015 to 2016, emissions from central government had been reduced by 27%, and energy costs reduced by £147 million, against 2009 levels. The Government now wants to expand this approach to the rest of the public sector and to organisations in the higher education sector.

    In the Clean Growth Strategy, the Government announced its intention to put in place a voluntary emissions reduction target for the public and higher education sectors in England. This reflects their important role in cutting emissions and in providing leadership across the rest of the economy. The target is to achieve at least a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 against a 2009 to 2010 baseline.

    This call for evidence sought stakeholder views about targets and implementation, including the design of a reporting framework, as well as other policies that would help in reducing emissions. Evidence was particularly sought from organisations that would be covered by the target, but views from other interested parties were also very welcome.

    This call for evidence closed on 7 December 2017.

    Supporting papers

    To download the consultation document please follow the link below.

    CIBSE response

    CIBSE noted with some disappointment that the call made virtually no reference to the current statutory requirements for public buildings over 250m2 in floor area to have a Display Energy Certificate displayed publicly and updated annually. The only reference made to this requirement of the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations is in Annex C, where it was afforded a few lines of acknowledgement.

    DECs were introduced in 2007 in order to make the public sector more aware of their energy use and to make public sector energy use publicly visible and transparent. Requiring annual certificates provided a regular snapshot of the actual energy use of the building and incentive to improve. The certificates were also accompanied by recommendation reports identifying what improvements could be made to the energy use of the building. So there is already a formal mechanism in place to provide guidance on measures to reduce energy use and bills in public sector buildings. All that is needed is much fuller compliance and use of the information already being generated. 

    CIBSE also noted that the very large number of EAUC members are in favour of voluntary energy and carbon reduction targets, with a smaller number in favour of targets being mandatory. CIBSE believes that there should be a voluntary target initially, with a move to mandatory in a specified timescale. Mandatory measurement and reporting, i.e. Display Energy Certificates, should be properly enforced in the public sector, potentially by being made a condition of funding rather than the subject of formal enforcement action. All buildings should be covered, including schools, colleges and educational buildings.

    To read the full CIBSE response, please follow the link below.

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