ECC on Regen SW’s Green Energy Awards shortlist



REGEN SW Green Energy Awards




Exeter City Council has been shortlisted in the Most Proactive Public Sector Organisation category in RegenSW’s South West Green Energy Awards


Exeter City Council

Setting the standards high, with a dedicated energy team, Exeter City Council is making ground breaking steps to become energy neutral. The savings are clear, with energy consumption of the Council’s estate cut by 2.5 million kWh. Forecasts project a decline in consumption of 37 per cent in 2016/17, with a carbon saving of 24 per cent, and a gross income of £522,000.

ECC will be up against
Public Power Solutions Ltd (PPS)
Plymouth City Council
Devon County Council (DCC)


ECC shortlisted for DEBI Environmental Awards 2016




Exeter City Council have been shortlisted in the Public Service in Devon category of the Devon Environmental Awards, organised by DEBI – the Devon Environmental Business Initiative.









This category is seeking the most environmentally sustainable project or initiative in Devon by a Public Sector organization in the last two years.

Entries are welcome from across the Public Sector, including Government Agencies, Local Authorities, Health/NHS, Emergency Services, Housing Associations, Public Transport.

Examples could show how an excellent Public Sector has been maintained/improved whilst:

  • managing, measuring and reducing their carbon footprint
  • Using/generating renewable energy and/or adapting operations to a changing climate
  • minimising resource use and waste, for example by ensuring effective recycling
  • delivering habitat improvements for wildlife
  • delivering measures which demonstrate a commitment to improving the lives of employees, customers and/or the community


ECC | An Energy Neutral Council – A Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme Update

At its meeting held on 29 September 2016, Corporate Services Scrutiny Committee considerer the report of the Corporate Manager Property on An Energy Neutral Council – A Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme Update  

The minutes note:

The Corporate Energy Manager presented the report which provided an update on the second year of the Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme, feasibility work for a new programme of projects to commence in 2017/18 and the outcome of recently completed greenhouse gas emission data across all the Council’s operations in 2015/16.

The Corporate Energy Manager updated Members on the following:-

  • the Livestock Centre Solar PV – benefits included the sale of discounted renewable energy to leaseholders providing the Council with an additional income;
  • Leisure Centres – Solar PV remains a feasible opportunity for our existing centres;
  • Battery Storage – this would allow the Council to take full advantage of solar energy generated;
  • LED Replacement Lighting in Car Parks– this work will be actioned once a full condition survey of car parks is complete;
  • Energy Monitoring – SMART control – improved and new methods of energy and data monitoring.

Members received a presentation illustrating a drop in CO2 emissions by 29% since 2009, and reduction in energy consumption following the installation of LED and Solar PV at the Civic Centre and Mary Archers Car Park.

There was further investigation required into the possibility of Solar PV at the Leisure Centres and the evaluation of opportunities and systems available to provide an improved method to reduce consumption and minimise costs.  Whilst the installation of renewables was effective, there was still work to be undertaken with regards to the Council’s management and monitoring of its buildings, so to reduce energy usage for the Council to achieve Energy Neutrality.

In response to a Member’s question, the Corporate Energy Manager clarified that the use of battery operated equipment and tools was not in the current programme at present, the focus was on council buildings. The Council was ahead of other authorities in Devon and had recently won the Local Government Chronicle Environment award for the Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme, demonstrating national recognition.

The Chair commented, that with only a team of two staff in Energy Management, they had still managed to achieve considerable savings for the Council.

In response to Members’ questions, the Deputy Chief Executive stated that if the Energy Team be given more resources then greater efficiency savings could be made.

Members discussed the savings made to date and acknowledged that it would be cost effective for the Council to increase staff numbers within the Energy Management team.

Corporate Services Scrutiny Committee noted the report on the progress made to date, the delivery of all projects included in year two of the Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme and feasibility work underway for 2017/18.

Onto the actual detail outlined in the report, which provides details of the last project to be completed at the Livestock Centre, further feasibility work planned for 2017/18 and Exeter’s current position regarding consumption and emissions.

Livestock Centre Solar PV 

The 1.5MW array installed in 2015 is thought to be the largest roof top array in the South West and is a significant addition to the Council’s solar estate. The PV array provides a long term income stream, helping to secure a sustainable future for the Livestock Centre. In addition, the solar array involved substantial electrical works and included a separate High Voltage supply to the building. The separate supply completed in May provides the Council with the opportunity to supply electricity to all leaseholders within the building, via a Power Purchase Agreement. The benefits of this include the sale of discounted renewable energy to leaseholders, allowing for greater usage of energy generated on site and providing the Council with an additional income stream.

Year Three 2017/18 – Programme and Feasibility 

The huge importance of the Solar PV projects in year two, and demand on what is a team of two, has inevitably delayed feasibility work. Nonetheless, initial business cases for work planned for year three of the programme are currently being prepared and below is a summary of potential projects identified for 2017/18:

Large Solar PV 

An opportunity to develop a 3.5 MW ground mounted PV array will take the authority closer to achieving Energy Neutrality. Previously a formal grid connection offer could not be authorised by WPD, having announced the grid was overloaded and reinforcement work predicted to take 3 to 6 years. However, a further application to connect has recently been submitted after alternative works by WPD to remove the issue were announced. This is set to be completed 2018/19 and current correspondence from WPD indicates a connection requirement of a maximum 3059kW export will be supplied. Once a formal offer is received a business case can be developed.

Battery Storage 

Battery storage will allow the Council to take control of solar energy use, providing many benefits, including reducing reliance on the grid at peak times and storage for use when needed outside of sunlight hours. Power generated by existing PV can be optimised where excess energy is exported. For example at Mary Arches and John Lewis Car Park, the excess energy could be stored to power lighting at night, providing a further energy bill saving. New savings can also be achieved where energy is needed predominantly outside of sunlight hours (such as for communal lighting), using batteries to store renewable energy generated in the day. In addition, the Livestock Centre array has the potential to supply direct to the grid at times of high demand, as well as utilising stored energy for its own use.

Battery storage is a fast developing technology and options available are being continuously investigated to ensure a viable smart solution is found.

Leisure Centres 

Solar PV remains a feasible opportunity for three of our existing Leisure Centres, reducing operational costs and carbon emissions. This is supported by a recent Energy Survey of the Leisure Centres, and will be further investigated following a building condition survey which will identify centres where new roofs are required.

An outline business case for this work will be prepared as soon as the information is available.

LED Replacement Lighting 

LED has the potential to make for a robust business case where electricity use is high, reducing consumption and carbon, maintenance costs and providing improved lighting. Further sites currently identified include car parks at the Guildhall and Princesshay 2 & 3. Work will be actioned once a full condition survey of the car parks is complete.

Energy Monitoring – SMART Controls 

Improved and new methods of energy and data monitoring will control energy usage through advanced scheduling and better control, optimising management of corporate buildings and in return lower energy bills. In addition monitoring is key to identifying where savings can be made and ensuring consumption information is made available so to feedback and work with the responsible building/service managers.

Advances in technology and communications are providing a more away from traditional Building Management Systems using smart controls that will better, engage building manager, reduce consumption and minimise costs.

Evaluation of opportunities and systems available, and the role of building managers is currently being investigated.

Energy Consumption and Emissions 

Greenhouse gas emission reporting (previously a DECC requirement) involving calculating emissions and energy consumption for all Council operations, is a valuable measurement tool which we use to benchmark. The Energy Officer was unable to carry out this exercise in 2014/15, due to the demands of the Renewables Programme, however the exercise is now complete for both years 2014/15 and 2015/16.

The new data confirms overall CO2 emissions have fallen by 29% (since 2009) and overall consumption has declined. Yet there is a very small increase of 1.37% in carbon emissions in 2015/16 brought about by greater consumption in a number of services. Exact reasons are complex, and could include new energy hungry equipment, longer operational hours, inaccuracies of previous readings, or poor building management.

A presentation will be made at Committee to provide further details of the emissions report, the need for sound energy management across our estate, and the benefits delivered by energy saving schemes in operation..

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-06-52-12 screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-06-52-18


Peter Cleasby: Small but significant: Exeter City Council’s energy measures [A Green in Exeter Blog, 24 October 2016]


#ECCresources | An Energy Neutral Council – A Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme Update

ECC Logo




Date of Meeting: 16 March 2016 

Report of: Corporate Manager Property 

An Energy Neutral Council – A Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme Update 

Is this a Key Decision? 

Is this an Executive or Council Function? 

1. What is the report about? 
This report provides an update on the Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme work that has been undertaken during the second year of the programme and since the previous report to Scrutiny Committee Resources on 16 September 2015.

2. Recommendations: 
That Scrutiny Committee Resources note the progress made to date, the delivery of all projects in year two of the Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme and feasibility work planned for year three.

3. Reasons for the recommendation: 
This is an update report to Scrutiny Committee Resources

4. What are the resource implications including non financial resources. 
The programme is delivered by the Energy Team, made up of two full-time posts and this level of resource continues to be supported.

All key projects in 2015/16 have been successfully delivered before reduction of the FIT tariff and introduction of local grid restrictions. This is the result of the team’s commitment and focus to ensure the best possible outcome for the Council, delivering identified projects on time, as well as securing the greatest financial return.

Developing an Energy Strategy, forward planning and further feasibility work, as well as the day to day energy management work, has been impacted by the sheer volume of work involved in the delivery of last year’s programme. An additional resource to assist in addressing capacity issues is under review.

In terms of the financial benefits of the programme, actual performance of previous PV schemes and savings made as a result of the work carried out by the Energy Team, can be seen in table format at the end of this report. The table also lists new savings recently secured, and included in the last quarter of this financial year (31 March 2016). Income from energy savings and FIT payments/export to the grid, have met expectations and the anticipated returns over the 20 year investment period are higher than initially projected. As new schemes within the programme are rolled out, it is predicted they will continue to deliver similar energy savings and income generation.

5. Section 151 Officer Comments: 
The project continues to have a positive impact on the Council’s budget position. The savings set out in the report have been included in the Council’s budget and have reduced the need for savings that impact on frontline services.

6. What are the legal aspects? 
There are no issues to raise on the content of this report.

7. Monitoring Officer Comments: 
There are no issues to raise on the content of this report.

8. Report details: 
The report to Scrutiny Committee Resources on 16 September 2015 updated the Committee on the progress of year two elements of the Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme. This report provides a summary of all work completed in year two, and photographs illustrating individual projects will be distributed at Committee. A brief comment is made on each individual project, recognition and acclaim received, and further feasibility work planned for 2016/17:

Following a long and difficult feasibility process, with many challenging structural issues to overcome, a Solar PV array was installed on the roof of the RAMM. The 26kW array not only produces energy and carbon savings, it also serves to help ensure the museum will comply with its funding criteria required by the Arts Council.

Canopy Solar PV (Mary Arches and John Lewis Car Park)
Extensive structural engineering and canopy design work resulted in the project start being delayed. Nonetheless the project was successfully completed in October 2015. This scheme is a pioneering initiative and one that will attract much attention, as this is the first carport system of its type in the UK. The two car park arrays each comprise 150kW systems, which provide for zero carbon car parks during the summer months, and together they jointly deliver an income in excess of £50,000 per annum. Additionally, the covered top decks (previously open) provide a more attractive parking environment, delivering service improvement, generating increased use and in return greater parking revenue.

Wat Tyler House Solar PV
The proximity of the above building to the John Lewis Car Park provided an opportunity to supply renewable electricity to ECVS, the leaseholder at Wat Tyler House. A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) allows the City Council to sell surplus electricity at a reduced price securing a fixed income for the electricity generated. The surplus energy from the John Lewis PV array would otherwise have been exported to the grid, at an export rate less than the PPA charge. This is the Council’s second PPA installation (see Climb Centre below), providing the opportunity to support the voluntary sector and local business, making for a stronger sustainable City.

Civic Centre LED Light Replacement
A large lighting replacement programme has been successfully completed. The original installations were combined where possible with planned office relocations, to minimise out of hours work and associated costs. All offices are now complete with only a few lift lobbies to finish before financial year end. The new lights have been well received, and improve the overall standard of office accommodation. The LED lights provide a more natural light and incorporate better controls; they dim and switch off completely when outside light levels are sufficient. The low wattage energy consumption reduces carbon emissions and will enable the council to cut the Civic Centre’s electricity bill by over £32,000 per annum (including for reduced maintenance as a result of extended bulb life).

Civic Centre Boiler Replacement
The installation of new gas-fired boilers was completed in time for the new heating season, despite additional works resulting from the collapse of the existing flow and return pipe to Phase II. The extent of asbestos removal needed also added to the challenges presented by this project. Design work, procurement and specialist engineering advice was provided by North Somerset Council. The work also included for removal of the oil tanks to the rear of the Civic, providing further bicycle storage for staff. The efficient boilers and new pumps provide for an annual saving of £28,000, with the removal of oil delivering a 50% reduction in carbon produced.

Livestock Centre Solar PV
The project had to be developed swiftly to ensure the WPD connection offer was not lost in light of the grid connection restriction now in place, as did the work required for the replacement of the dilapidated roof sheets. In addition, significant cuts to the FIT tariff became apparent, making the completion of the project by 31 December 2015 vitally important. All elements of the PV installation was accelerated, with every effort focused on commissioning, which was achieved on 23 December. The 1.5MW array is thought to be the largest roof top array in the South West and is a significant addition to our solar estate. The PV array provided for a new roof and a long term income stream, helping to secure a sustainable future for the Livestock Centre.

Climb Centre Solar PV
Structural issues were overcome by using a specialist solar panel fixing system which allowed for the successful installation of a 29kw array supported by the leaseholder of what is the City’s old Electricity Generating Station. This allowed for the Council’s first power Purchase Agreement (PPA) which permits us to sell electricity at a reduced price to the occupant and to secure a fixed income for the Council, whilst supporting local business.

Year Three 2016/17- Programme and Feasibility 
The huge pressure to complete Solar PV projects in year two, and demand on what is a team of two, has inevitably restricted feasibility work. Nonetheless, work identified in advance of year three has now commenced and below is a summary to date of the potential projects identified for 2016/17.

Feasibility – Solar PV Field
An opportunity to develop a 3.5 MW ground mounted PV array, providing a substantial long term income stream and generation of renewable energy, so taking the authority closer to achieving Energy Neutrality. Unfortunately, whilst a formal grid connection offer has been made by WPD, this cannot be authorised until the grid restriction is lifted. Earlier this year WPD advised that a critical 132 kV line, from Bridgwater to the Bristol docks area, has reached full capacity and as a consequence a delay of 3-6 years will be included in new connection offers for all generation projects seeking to connect to the grid requiring works at High Voltage (HV) level or above. The restrictions apply to all of the WPD south west region below Bristol and Bath.

Whilst other factors still need to be overcome, including FIT tariff cuts, essentially if a solution to the grid constraint were found, the project could be a viable one.

Solar PV and Battery Storage
Energy storage instantly offers many benefits to our estate, allowing energy to be generated and stored for use when needed outside of sunlight hours. Power generated by existing PV could be optimised where excess energy is exported. For example at Mary Arches Car Park, the excess energy could be stored to power lighting at night, providing a further energy bill saving. New savings could also be achieved where energy is needed only outside of sunlight hours (communal lighting), using batteries to store renewable energy generated in the day to be consumed in the night time.

It is clear that energy storage has the potential to optimise use of Solar PV, including the supply of power off grid. Potential sites where storage technology should be tested include the Solar Canopy Car Parks, Livestock Centre, and Housing and non housing communal areas. Further investigation is needed and viable projects will be reported back in September.

Leisure Centre Solar PV and LED lighting
This opportunity for energy saving LED projects and Solar PV is evident, and this will be explored further as soon as the Leisure Feasibility Review confirms the long term future of the assets. It should be noted that, the condition of the roof at both the Riverside Leisure Centre and the Isca centre would have to be improved/replaced prior to PV installation.

Further LED Light Replacement
High electricity users where LED has the potential to make for a robust business case include the RAMM, Guildhall Car Park, Princesshay Car Park 2 and 3.

Energy Monitoring
Better and new methods of energy and data monitoring will control energy usage through advanced scheduling and better control, optimising best use of buildings and in return lower energy bills. In addition monitoring is key to identifying where savings can be made and ensuring consumption information is made available to exactly the right service managers/users.

9. How does the decision contribute to the Council’s Corporate Plan? 
The delivery of the programme is an essential part of the Council’s capital programme over the coming years. The energy savings and income generated will assist us in our overall efficiency and income generating agenda, as well as contributing to the reduction of our carbon footprint, the city a more pleasant place to live and work.

10. What risks are there and how can they be reduced? 
The programme has been approved and resourced in order to secure delivery of viable schemes. There will always be challenges to viability in this area as a result of changes in energy costs, the Feed In Tariff, structural building condition, etc. The mechanism we have put in place to approve business cases and their viability should ensure we do not embark on schemes that will not perform in accordance with our requirements.

Recent price changes in the energy market are noted, and what effect this may have on future and predicted savings of energy saving schemes. An independent view is regularly sought from the Council’s Energy Broker. The following updated guidance is given: Looking forward the electricity market remains sensitive to power outages and we have seen increases in what are described as taxes and levies, they now account for 60% of each kwh charged. Natural gas prices were buoyed at the start of the year, however contracts are trading at a six year low.

11. What is the impact of the decision on equality and diversity; health and wellbeing; safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults, community safety and the environment? 
No decision is sought, but it should be noted that the reduction in the City Council’s carbon footprint does go some way to improving, or at least mitigating, the adverse impacts of energy use on the environment.

12. Are there any other options? 
The nature of the programme appraisal and approval arrangements are that the Energy Team is constantly considering alternative approaches and other avenues of investment in this area.

Michael Carson 
Corporate Manager Property 
Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1972 (as amended) 

Financial Benefits - Savings 2012-2015

Financial Benefits - Projected Savings 2015-2016

Recognition and Acclaim

LGA Awards 2016




LGC Awards – Environment Award 2016 –  WINNER

LGC Awards – Efficiency Award 2016 – Shortlisted

REGEN SW Green Energy Awards




Regen SW Green Energy Awards – Best Renewable Energy Scheme – Highly Commended Finalist 2015
SunGift installed the UK’s first two ‘solar carports’ on Exeter City Council’s John Lewis and Mary Arches multi-story car parks – the most technologically complex solar solution SunGift has ever carried out. The projects generate 285,227 kWh of renewable electricity and save 150+ tonnes of CO2 per annum.

PSS Awards 2015




Public Sector Sustainability Awards – Innovation Award 2015 –  WINNER

PSS Award 2015 - winners

Public Sector Sustainability Awards – Best Energy Management 2014 –  WINNER

#LGCawards | Becoming an Energy Neutral Council




Exeter City Council has been nominated for two awards in the LGA Awards 2016

Environment Award [sponsored by Repic]

This award is awarded to mark excellence in any aspect of councils’ work in environmental services, including sustainability, recycling, refuse collection, and street cleaning. Entries will be judged on the innovation of their submissions and the extent to which it has improved the environment in their area and/or the efficiency of service delivery.

Submissions should focus on:

  • A full description of the project and its aims;
  • A detailed explanation of costs, how it was funded and where the expertise for it came from;
  • The impact of the council’s work on the lives of local people, for instance by showing how their concerns led to a positive response;
  • Evidence that the project has met its goals.

Award entries will be judged upon:

  • The extent to which the council’s work was an innovative response to a significant concern and potentially can be replicated in other areas;
  • The quality of the outcomes obtained from the project, for instance in improved or more efficient services;
  • Evidence of buy-in to the project or its goals from members of the local community or external organisations.


  • Bristol City Council
  • Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Exeter City Council
  • Keep Britain Tidy
  • Lincolnshire County Council/Keep Britain Tidy
  • London Borough of Lambeth
  • London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  • Public Power Solutions, a Wholly Owned Company of Swindon Borough Council
  • Staffordshire County Council

Efficiency [sponsored by National Audit Office]

Councils face continued pressure to reduce costs and increase their efficiency. Many have now reached the point at which further efficiency can be achieved only by innovative approaches and new relations with citizens and partner organisations. The focus is on how to secure “better for less”. This award is intended to highlight how the most imaginative councils are facing this challenge.

Submissions should focus on:

  • Outlining your savings and efficiency targets for 2013-14,  2014-15 and beyond, the extent to which you achieved those targets and the evidence you use to both set targets and measure performance against them;
  • How you have used the pressure to cuts costs to prompt organisational change and secure improved outcomes;
  • The main drivers of and barriers to securing efficiencies;
  • How you have engaged local citizens, service users and partner organisations in this work.

Award entries will be judged on:

  • The scale of the council’s ambition and the extent to which it has succeeded in achieving it;
  • Whether securing savings and efficiencies has driven service improvements;
  • The process the council adopted, including stakeholder engagement;
  • The quality and use of the evidence base available to the council.


  • ENGIE & North Tyneside Council
  • Exeter City Council
  • Hampshire County Council and Argenti Teleheathcare
  • Leeds City Council
  • London Borough of Ealing
  • London Borough of Newham
  • Peterborough City Council
  • South London SEN Commissioning Programme
  • Thurrock Council

The submissions for both categories were based on this document

Becoming an Energy Neutral Council

Exeter City Council is a cost efficient, forward thinking Council, working to reduce its carbon footprint and encouraging others to do the same. A new commitment to make real change and deliver Exeter’s aspiration to become a lead sustainable authority has been embarked on. The goal is to deliver long term financial and carbon savings as Exeter strives to become an energy neutral council. This ambition is supported by an innovative programme of energy efficient and renewable initiatives, financially supported and already producing substantial savings.

The City Council’s target is to reduce its base load energy consumption, deliver financial savings and cut carbon emissions to support Council services as well as supporting the community and business.

Building a Sustainable Council

Consumption across all council assets increased in 2012/13 at a rate of 19%. This pattern of energy consumption was unsustainable and presented a real threat to the ability of Exeter City Council to continue to provide quality services. As a result a new fully enabled commercially driven Energy Team was established in Corporate Property Assets to drive forward a Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme. The team laid down an ambitious programme to achieve energy reduction, to generate renewable energy, to be an energy neutral Council. In addition, the programme would tackle carbon produced (4500 tonnes in 2012/13) with a 20% reduction achievable by year 3.

The Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme

Solar PV installed in early 2013 to four main Council facilities proved far reaching and demonstrated the value of renewable technology. To date the PV array’s at the Council’s Civic Centre, Oakwood House Office, Materials Recycling Facility, and Museum Store has exceeded the Government’s performance data by 32%; subsequently the project is predicted to break even within 5 years and will provide an index linked income stream for a further 15 years. During the first full year of operation, the 180kW PV array delivered an income of nearly £48,000 and saved 82 tonnes of carbon.

Exeter Citizen, Winter 2013
Exeter Citizen, Winter 2013

The innovative Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme included further PV installations to Council buildings, including a pioneering Solar Canopy Car Park project (PV arrays to the top deck of car parks), an installation on the Grade II listed Royal Albert Memorial Museum, City Climb Centre and a 1.5MW array to the Council’s Livestock Centre. In addition, the Climb Centre, Car Park Arrays and Livestock Centre all provide energy to other organisations. Using a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) the Council has become an energy provider, selling discounted renewable energy to its leaseholders, supporting local business and the voluntary sector with cheaper energy bills.

3D image of Livestock Centre 1.5MW array (currently being installed)
3D image of Livestock Centre 1.5MW array (installed December 2015)

Real Innovation – Solar Canopy Arrays on Multi-story Car Parks

The Solar Canopy arrays are installed on two of our largest City Centre Car Parks, our most complex solar project to date. The solar Car Park project has broken new ground, not only in the South West, but also nationally and represents innovation that can be shared. The PV arrays will provide an income of over £50,000 per annum over 25years, generating 285,227 kwh per year of renewable energy, and saving 150 tonnes of CO2 per year. They present:

  • Zero Carbon. Linked to low energy lighting installed, a zero carbon parking service is achieved.
  • Dual Benefit. The Car Park Canopy structures provided undercover parking, providing for more attractive parking, happier customers and increased parking revenue.
  • Technical Innovation. The Solar canopy project is a UK first and provides a workable structural and parking solution.
  • Solar EV Charging. Car Park Users will be able to charge Electric Vehicles for free using renewable energy.
  • Community Benefit. Local installer, local design and engineering, visible profile promoting the benefits of solar PV, and sale of energy to local voluntary group based in a building next to Car Park.
John Lewis Car Park Canopy 150kw array, under Construction.
John Lewis Car Park Canopy 150kw array, under construction
Mary Arches Car Park 150kw Canopy array in operation
Mary Arches Car Park 150kw Canopy array in operation

Other energy efficiency measures in buildings

It can be seen that renewable technology provides for enormous cost savings and delivers long term income. By the same token, key energy saving projects are vital if Exeter is to reduce consumption and to make for a sustainable property asset.

An LED lighting replacement project at the Council’s main offices has proved a huge success reducing consumption by 60%, demonstrating significant long term energy and cost savings of £32,000 per annum. Additional benefits include reduced maintenance and improved lighting which has made for better working environment.

LED lighting has also been effectively installed in city centre car parks, again reducing electricity consumption, in some cases up to 65% (see snapshot below- Harlequins Car Park). As well as reduced maintenance/ administration costs the lighting is significantly improved, making for well lit and safer car parking.


Screen shot 2016-03-16 at 14.34.19

The success of the LED project is shared with residents to promote the benefits of LED, featuring in the Council’s quarterly newspaper delivered to every home in the City.

Exeter Citizen, Spring 2014
Exeter Citizen, Spring 2014

Further energy efficiency schemes include removing paper towels and installation of low energy hand driers, water saving devices which have delivered savings of over £20,000 per annum since installation in 2013, and replacement of the incumbent oil fired boilers that heat the Civic Offices with gas boilers..

The new efficient boilers allow for a saving of over £28,000 per annum and the removal of oil provides a significant carbon saving. The space left as a result of the clearing the existing oil tanks provides a new bike store for staff, encouraging green travel.

Future energy saving measures planned include staff engagement projects to reduce consumption further, to tackle the unoccupied base load of the Civic Offices, utilising low energy kitchen facilities. This will not only deliver a financial return, but make for an improved and more creative working environment.

All in all the Civic Centre has been transformed into an energy efficient building, benefiting from significant cost and carbon savings, as well setting an example of best practice. This is clearly demonstrated by the energy consumption graph below.

Civic Centre energy consumption (kwh’s)
Civic Centre energy consumption (kWh)

Real Change

The Council’s aspiration for Energy Neutrality, through self financed investment in renewables and other energy saving schemes, forms an essential cornerstone to achieving a 20% reduction in carbon emissions, whilst essentially safeguarding public services through income generation.

A strategy to deliver an Energy Neutral Council is one built on:

  • Maximising our Commercial Business Opportunities. All projects are delivered on the basis of a robust business case. The income and savings delivered create new income streams which support key Council services.
  • Leadership. Exeter has been able to share its expertise and influence local residents and business as well as influencing the national energy agenda.
  • Wellbeing. Energy projects can help to improve wellbeing and supporting community energy schemes, and to assist in reducing fuel poverty.
  • Sustainable Economic Development. Energy projects present an opportunity to stimulate growth by generation of local jobs.
  • Energy Security. A consistent, reliable and affordable energy supply providing greater sustainability, energy security and protection against environmental and carbon taxes.
  • Carbon Reduction. Lover environmental impact, improved well being for the people of Exeter. A low carbon City.

Real Savings

To date the savings are clear, with energy consumption of the Council’s total estate cut by 2.5milllion kwh. Based on projects completed up to December 2015 a reduction of 15.25% is achieved in 2015/16 and a gross income of £319,000. Moreover projects recently completed, all within year 2 of the programme will provide for considerable decline in consumption, a reduction of 37% in 2016/17 and a gross income of £522,000, with a carbon saving of 24%.

ECC - Total energy use
ECC – Total energy use

The above is the work of a dedicated and enthusiastic Energy Team of two people, that in itself demonstrates real achievement. The projects realised are substantial and already provide real and significant savings, demonstrating leadership for community benefit. The Energy Team’s individual expertise has gained support from elected members, enabling all projects to be self financed by the Council. Future projects planned and future development of the Renewables and Energy Saving Programme will ensure Exeter continues to reduce energy consumed, increase renewable energy generated and achieve its aspiration to be an Energy Neutral Council.

Other Projects and Collaboration

The following projects demonstrate Exeter is fast becoming a lead authority, one that is collectively making ground breaking steps to be a truly low carbon City, and one that sets a standard for all.

Electric vehicles

Last year, the Council underwent a fleet review by the Energy Saving Trust. This indicated that savings could be generated by the replacement of life-expired vehiclesby electric rather than petrol or diesel versions. Generally our vehicles do not travel beyond our compact administrative area, so the limited range of such vehicles is not an issue. The first phase of a new electric vehicle fleet is underway with electric pool cars and small operational vans already in service.

Exeter Citizen, Summer 2014
Exeter Citizen, Summer 2014

The above acquisition was made possible by our success with a bid to OLEV in 2013, which has provided for seven twin charging points. The chargepoints are called ‘Plug and Park’ Stations and the design is a highly visible one promoting Electric Vehicle use. The chargepoints are situated in key city locations, including car parks where they are available for public use. Drivers pay the normal parking charge but do not have to pay for charging.

Low Carbon Task Force

The Council is an active member of the Exeter and Heart of Devon Low Carbon Task Force, an association of public and private sector organisations reporting to the Growth Board for the area, including local authorities, Chamber of Commerce, Eon, the University of Exeter, and the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RDE).

The Task Force drives the delivery of a low carbon economy, working to:  Develop low carbon heating and power solutions in the Exeter and East

Devon Growth Point.  Explore opportunities to develop a city centre heat network.  Help local businesses to save energy and adopt new technologies.  Develop Eco opportunities to eco-refurbish homes.

District Heat Networks

The Council is working with key stakeholder and the Low Carbon Task Force to develop goals listed above, including two district heat networks in Exeter. Such a system is already operating in Cranbrook, this takes heat from a CHP plant to dwellings in the town and the Skypark employment area.

A similar scheme is underway for Monkerton, a strategic development area in the east of the city, with a site available for a CHP plant to which major landowners have signed up. A further scheme, as part of a city centre regeneration project on thecurrent Exeter bus station site, includes retrofitting some existing large premises such as the RDE, and linking to a new Energy from Waste Plant at Marsh Barton. The Council is working with partners on a delivery model, including an Energy Supply Company with public sector involvement to deliver the city centre scheme.

The Council has used planning conditions and section 106 obligations to ensure that new development in the relevant areas is designed to be compatible with a district heating network, and to connect to such a network when it becomes available. Section 106 obligations have also secured essential financial contributions.

Low Emissions Strategy

In 2013/14 the Council was awarded Air Quality Grant funding by DEFRA to develop a Low Emissions Strategy for Exeter. This is important because the city was designated an Air Quality Management Area where nitrogen dioxide concentrations exceed objectives because of traffic emissions. The strategy will deliver innovative and sustainable ways to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions, working with key stakeholders to ensure that carbon and air quality policy are mutually beneficial, and improve the health of those living close to the busiest roads.

Sustainable Procurement

The Green Accord is a proven environmental accreditation scheme developed by Exeter City Council, Global Action Plan and key local businesses. It has received national acclaim (see national award recognition below), endorsement from the audit commission and is a standard used by other public bodies such as Exeter University and the MET Offce.

The Green Accord is an accreditation that drives sustainability and addresses the environmental responsibilities facing those who procure. It demonstrates best practice and the reduction of environmental impact through the whole supply chain, by demanding practical actions and the instigation of alternative working practices. To date the scheme has helped hundreds of businesses to make efficiencies, improve working practices and reduce operational costs, not only providing for environmental savings but also improved business worth.

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Exeter City Council was announced WINNER of the Environment category at the LGC Awards 2016 ceremony on the evening of 16 March 2016.

LGA Awards - Group shot

LGA Award - Trophy


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