We are all being urged to 'Save energy, and save money' and Stafford Borough Council has really taken the message to heart. It has an ambitious programme to improve energy efficiency in its own offices, at the Civic Centre, and in other buildings it manages. The council is adopting a three-pronged approach involving energy awareness, technical improvements, and energy procurement.
A key step is to make users of the Civic Offices more aware of energy, and how it can be saved by simple things like turning off lights, computers, etc. This is aimed at council staff, councillors, and visitors alike. An Energy Management Group looks at all aspects of energy efficiency, and some members of the Council staff act as volunteer Energy-Saving Champions, providing help and encouragement for their colleagues.
Energy usage is constantly monitored, and bulletins are sent to all staff keeping them in touch with progress.
The Borough Council has introduced a range of measures to cut energy consumption. For example, light switches in common areas of the Civic Centre, such as the main staircase and toilets, are now operated by infrared sensors, which means the lights turn on automatically when someone enters the area, and then turn off automatically when the person has left. Such 'smart' lighting controls are becoming increasingly common as a means of saving electricity in offices and public buildings.
St John's Market in Stafford will be getting high-efficiency lighting and improved switching, and lighting surveys have been carried out at both the Gatehouse Theatre and the Ancient High House, pointing the way to improvements in energy efficiency in these much-loved historic buildings.
Working with partners
Stafford Borough Council is working to promote energy efficiency throughout the borough, with its involvement in several projects aimed at households, schools, businesses, and others sectors. It is a partner in the Staffordshire Local Area Agreement, and the internet portal OC3 ('Our County, Our Climate, Our Challenge'). This provides information, links and other resources for anyone interested in reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change.
The voluntary group Sustainability Matters in Stafford Borough started the Save Your Energy website; this example of a community initiative also benefits from the help and support of the Borough Council.