Dozens of public service buildings in Suffolk to be decarbonised in £12million commitment from county council
Nearly £13 million has been agreed to decarbonise more than 130 public service buildings in Suffolk.
Libraries, fire stations, council offices, children’s homes and archive facilities are among the scores of buildings Suffolk County Council has pledged to decarbonise in its fight against the climate crisis.
The authority’s cabinet unanimously agreed to invest £12.8m on Tuesday afternoon, outlined in the energy management plan formed following work by a dedicated cross-party climate emergency task force.
Richard Rout, Conservative cabinet member for finance and the environment, said it was a ‘unique opportunity to increase and maintain momentum’, explaining that it was ‘abundantly clear’ more investment was needed to meet the net zero targets.
“The council has a portfolio of wide-ranging buildings including offices and fire stations in both urban and rural locations. Each have different characteristics, infrastructure, operational needs and users,” he said.
“We will need to make sure each building gets the most effective solution to specific requirements.”
Cllr Rout added: “This administration is committed to providing value for money to the taxpayer, that’s why it is incredibly important to highlight this £12.8m investment will reduce our total energy consumption and therefore reduce running costs of our buildings.”
Among measures in the plan are replacing fossil fuel boilers, new solar panel provision, continuing the rollout of LED lights and reviews of heating and ventilation controls.
Improved thermal efficiency and behavioural changes are also a part of the plan.
Work on a new electricity contract, due to begin from April next year, will switch procurement from nuclear means to solar, wind, hydro and other clean renewable sources, the cabinet report confirmed.
Work has been ongoing over the last few years to reduce carbon emissions, which has also reduced heat and power costs from £7m in 2018/19 to £6.6m last year.
Estimates suggest the cumulative savings from the switch will also be in excess of £2.4m by 2030, while costs avoided will total more than £5.3m.
Andrew Stringer, leader of the opposition Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group, said he hoped to see maintained schools become a part of the programme, and hoped it would encourage others to work towards their own decarbonisation programmes.
He added: “Even though it feels like we are at the beginning of a journey we are really not.
“We have made international declarations a decade ago about sorting this out and we have done quite a lot of good work in some of our buildings already which we should actually be extolling the virtues of to others.
“It’s not like we are starting from scratch, we have done an awful lot of this and I would like that we be more evangelical to others so they make better decisions as they go on a similar journey to us.”