Council’s plan to cut CO2 by almost 700 tonnes a year
Carmarthenshire County Council is investing over £2.5million to make energy efficiencies in its buildings in a bid to cut carbon emissions by almost 700 tonnes a year.
It is part of the council’s efforts to become a net zero carbon local authority by 2030, a commitment it made in February when declaring a climate emergency.
The authority has taken out an interest-free loan to pay for the Welsh Government Re:fit scheme, which it will pay back over 10 years from savings on running costs.
New technology will be installed in non-domestic buildings - including schools - to save energy and water, with an estimated 691 tonnes of CO2 saved every year.
Over 30 sites have been identified for phase one of the roll-out, undertaken on behalf of the council by renewable energy company Ameresco.
The scheme is in addition to the energy saving measures the council has already applied in its buildings.
To date, over £2million has been invested in over 200 energy efficiency projects, saving over £7million in running costs and 41,000 tonnes of CO2 over the lifetime of installed technologies.
The council has a policy of integrating low and zero carbon technologies into major building works projects such as schools, where PV installations and Passivhaus standards are already in use.
Its fleet of refuse lorries is the most emission-friendly fleet in Wales; street lighting has been converted to LED units; and there has been significant investment in Safe Routes in the Community and Safe Routes to Schools to encourage more sustainable travel.
In 2012 Carmarthenshire became the first council in Wales to introduce electric pool car vehicles, and has recently secured funding for plug-in chargers following an increase in electric vehicle sales.
Last year, the council vowed to reduce single-use plastics in council buildings and offices and ban plastic cups and straws.
The council’s climate declaration was backed unanimously by councillors in February.
As well as making and planning changes towards a target of becoming a zero carbon local authority by 2030, it has called on Welsh and UK Governments to provide support and resources to enable effective carbon reductions.
Cllr Hazel Evans, Executive Board Member for Environment, said: “We take our commitment to working towards becoming a carbon neutral authority very seriously, and we’re pleased to be making this investment not only to save harmful carbon emissions, but also to save financially on the cost of running our buildings.
“Coupled with our on-going property rationalisation programme, we are producing financial and carbon savings in times of increasing utility prices. This is a win-win situation when we are also able to help the environment.”