This year alone Donegal County Council has achieved savings in the region of €14,000 in electricity usage in the Council’s 5 public service centres and in the County House in Lifford representing almost a 10% reduction in the amount of electricity used in these buildings.
This is part of the Council’s drive to improve energy performance throughout all it’s operations in line with it’s ISO 50001 accredited Energy Management System.
“This has been achieved simply by being more mindful about how we use electricity” says Paddy Mullen, Facilities Manager “and I would like to commend our staff in each of these buildings who have taken on board our commitment to improving energy performance. Small changes in our behaviour, such as making sure lights are turned off when we leave a room or switching off monitors at lunchtime, have made a considerable impact on our energy consumption.”
In addition, thermal energy consumption has also reduced for the first nine months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016, from 999,826kWh to 882,212 kWh representing a reduction of almost 12%.
Paddy Mullen explains “these savings have been achieved by introducing small changes and clearly shows what can be achieved if we are all a bit more conscious about how we use energy both at work and at home.
“We also introduced a new Driver Awareness Campaign targeting our own drivers and raising awareness on how they can improve energy performance. Our fleet of 200 vehicles was identified as one of a number of significant energy users within the organisation and we have been working closely with our drivers raising awareness on issues affecting energy efficiency such as idling and over revving of vehicles. Initial feedback suggests that this campaign is having a positive impact with substantial reductions in fuel consumption expected by the end of 2017.
“A number of street lighting projects have also been completed in 2017. Over 1,000 street lights have being changed to LEDs at approximately 60 locations across the county. This is resulting in energy savings of up to 50% or more, depending on the type of lamp being replaced. Also, as the number of LED lights increase, the maintenance costs are reduced, as LED’s have considerably longer life expectancy than traditional SOX/SON lamps.
“While significant progress has been made in the past year, further projects are planned which will deliver substantial savings in energy consumption for the council, reducing the overall annual operating costs as well as delivering on our commitment for continuous improvement in energy performance.
“Before the end of the year the lighting in the Carndonagh and Dungloe Public Service Centres will be replaced with LED fittings and it is expected that this will realise further significant savings while plans are afoot to continue upgrading street lights in various locations across Donegal”.
In line with the requirements of ISO 50001 accreditation, two surveillance audits have been undertaken this year by Certification Europe, the latest of which took place at the end of September and Donegal County Council has retained this important accreditation for its Energy Management System which was first achieved in October 2016.
Paddy Mullen adds “this energy management system is all about continuous improvement and engaging with our own staff is critical to it’s success. We are working with the OPW’s Optimising Power @ Work programme and will be setting up Energy Teams in our offices in the coming months. These teams will be made up of staff across a range of services and grades and they will be the champions in each of their own buildings on raising awareness of the importance of improving our energy performance so that we can all play our part in contributing to a carbon neutral society. We have a long way to go to achieving our ultimate goal but I think we have made a great start in 2017.”