Limerick County Council, which claims to have reduced its energy consumption by 45pc over the last two years, today launched an energy code of practice aimed at managing energy consumption and promoting energy efficient practices within the Local Government system in county.
The local authority said it has produced 340 fewer tonnes of CO2 and made savings of more than €90,000 in the two and ahalf years since implementing numerous energy efficient measures at its headquarters building in Dooradoyle.
The new strategy document a series of short, medium and long term action plans and provides for ongoing staff training in relation to best practice in the area of energy efficiency.
Speaking in Limerick at the launch of the code, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan congratulated Limerick County Council on securing considerable savings through its energy efficiency programme.
“When Limerick County Council embarked on the design and construction of its new corporate buildings, one of the key issues was sustainability,” he said. “ The benefits, both economic and environmental, of adopting such an approach are clearly evident today.
“Environmental policies are constantly changing and I am delighted to see that Limerick County Council is adapting to such changes by utilising renewable technologies and exploring how they can be used in an appropriate way. This code of practice fits in with the overall energy strategy of Limerick County Council and indeed, the Government’s National Climate Change Strategy 2007-12.”
“The council is conscious of expenditure of public money in the delivery of services for the public good,” said Limerick county manager Edmond Gleeson. “Under this code, for example, the council will use all energy as efficiently as practicable, reduce energy related emissions, promote the use of renewable energy resources, and purchase all energy at the most economic cost.”
In late 2008, Limerick County Hall and Library Headquarters became the first state-owned buildings in the country to install photovoltaic solar panels to reduce their carbon footprint and energy usage. County Hall has since improved its building energy rating (BER) from a D2 to a B3 and plans to achieve a B1 within the next 18 months. Typical buildings of this size would have a BER of D2.
“The building is generating electricity from 175 square metres of photovoltaic panels, producing 16 kW of electricity on average,” saidLimerick County Council’s facilities manager, Pádraig Power. “A visual display unit (VDU) for public viewing has been installed to relay live information on the energy being generated. The council has published its own internal energy saving workplan during 2011.
“Significant savings have been made as a result of upgrades to current heating and lighting systems, while LED lighting has been introduced on a phased basis. Exploiting natural elements of the building design, natural lighting and ventilation has also had huge effect on energy reduction. Solar gain in the winter time has been harnessed and contributes to the heating of the building fabric. Meanwhile, building management systems have been upgraded to obtain maximum savings on energy consumption.
While in Limerick County Hall today, Minister Hogan also met with the Limerick Clare Kerry Regional Waste Management Office, which recently launched an ecopledge campaign. The website campaign encourages people to show their commitment to caring for the environment by signing up to one of ten eco-friendly pledges at www.managewaste.ie/ecopledge.