News release from 29/01/2020

Making South Cambs Hall green to its core

Making South Cambs Hall green to its core

Plans have been published to dramatically cut energy bills and almost halve the Carbon emissions from South Cambridgeshire Hall – the home of the District Council.

A report to ‘green’ the building was published yesterday (Tuesday 28 January) and will be discussed by the Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday 5 February. It recommends the building is made more energy efficient and much less reliant on fossil fuels.

The report suggests allocating a maximum of around £1.9 million of the authority’s upcoming budget towards energy efficiency improvements. The energy improvements planned will have paid for themselves within a maximum of 16 years and would save the Council almost £100,000 within the first year of the scheme’s operation.

A raft of improvements are suggested at South Cambridgeshire Hall, including the following energy saving measures:

  • A ground source heat pump to generate renewable heat and reduce the amount of gas used on the site by at least 80%.
  • The installation of a solar car port to generate more than 20% of the electricity used at South Cambridgeshire Hall
  • LED lights to save around 15% of the electricity used in the building
  • A new building energy management system to better regulate heating, cooling and air conditioning systems and cut energy use
  • Improvements to the building’s chilling system to cut down on the amount of electricity it uses
  • A more energy efficient fan system to move air around inside the building
  • 20 electric vehicle charging points to incentivise staff and visitors to look at travelling via cleaner cars

The funding for the works would come from the Council’s ‘Renewables Reserve’ that derives from Business Rates that are paid by renewable energy sites in the district and earmarked for investment in energy efficiency projects. This fund also pays for local, community projects to reduce carbon emissions through the Council’s Zero Carbon Communities grant scheme.

The District Council has already declared a climate emergency and, in November 2018, pledged to work towards making the District zero carbon by 2050. This project will reduce the building’s annual carbon footprint from over 350,000kg of CO2 per year to approximately 182,000kg. Along with the benefits in reducing carbon emissions and cutting energy costs, there would also be savings through reduced maintenance costs.

If approved, the Council would partner with renewable energy specialists Bouygues Energies and Services to design, develop and deliver the project and to provide performance guarantees.

A picture of Councillor Neil Gough

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Neil Gough (pictured - above), said: “We face a climate emergency and it is only right that we look at opportunities to reduce our energy requirements and our carbon footprint. This project is an example of what can be achieved through integrated solutions for renewable generation and efficient energy management systems. Investing this money now would be another way we are doing our bit to tackle the climate crisis –but also saving taxpayers' money. We will be asking others to become ever more conscious of the environment when it comes to new buildings and adapting existing homes and business premises. So, it’s only right that we set an example of what can be achieved. Having recently been recognised as one of the top performing Councils working to tackle climate change, we are committed to finding new ways in which we can contribute to a cleaner, greener South Cambridgeshire.”

The plans will be discussed by the Council’s Cabinet on 5 February. If approved, they will form part of the budget which will be discussed by all Councillors at the Full Council meeting on 20 February.