ENERGY CHAMPION WINNER: Local Authority – Internal – Bedford Borough Council



Bedford Borough Council is determined to make the Borough a better place to live, work and visit. Our vision is to operate as cost effectively, efficiently and sustainably as possible. We believe the following examples show our commitment to this vision.

Section 1: Innovation, Product Selection and Diversity

In order to set an example for the Borough, we must first use our own estate to act as a flagship for energy efficiency and sustainability. To do this, the following key projects have been undertaken:

Case Study: Borough Hall

Heating Conversion

1-2016-bbc-la-internal-1-2Borough Hall’s heating system has been converted to operate on natural gas rather than oil. A new pipeline supplying gas to the site has lowered our fuel costs and allows the utilisation of a less carbon intensive fuel. With upcoming projections for ‘Peak Oil’, it is important we can function independently of oil, ensuring a more sustainable future for the Borough.


Biomass Boiler

1-2016-bbc-la-internal-2As part of our commitment to promoting renewable technology, a new 900kW Schmid biomass pellet boiler has been installed as the lead boiler at Borough Hall. This system takes priority in meeting the heating demand for the building – maximising the contribution of annual thermal input from the biomass system. This reduces our carbon footprint and sets an example to the Borough – how renewable technology can be successfully implemented.

Evaporative Cooling Units

1-2016-bbc-la-internal-2-2One of our key aims is to promote resilience within the community with reference to Climate Change. The Council installed four evaporative cooling units to replace the older models at Borough hall. These new units use 90% less energy whilst being cheaper to install and maintain.

Most importantly these units are free from ozone-depleting refrigerants, like CFCs, ensuring we do our bit to commit to a sustainable planet.

Borough Bikes – Cycle to Work Scheme

1-2016-bbc-la-internal-3The Council has 4 ‘pool’ bikes which can be borrowed under the ‘Borough Bikes’ scheme. Each Bike comes with a helmet and a pannier containing equipment such as a high visibility kit, a first aid kit and a tool kit.

We are part of the Cycle to Work Scheme, enabling staff to claim a voucher to buy a new bike and/or equipment to cycle to work.

Other Internal Projects:

  • Photovoltaic cells have been built on the roof of Borough Hall, next to the existing retro-fit solar thermal system. The systems have been positioned in order to minimise any shade caused by concrete pillars and other buildings. 100% of the electricity generated will be used on site and in combination with the feed in tariff of 13.03p/kWh – it will effectively generate £8,855/annum in revenue, making a carbon saving of 20,197kgCo2/annum. Thus reducing our carbon footprint as well as creating revenue for the Borough.


  • Voltage optimisation measures have been introduced, regulating our voltages to the optimum level in bid to conserve energy. The project highlighted that the 3 transformers serving the site were inefficient, and the site could in fact operate with only 2 transformers. Voltage optimisation systems (VOS) were added to the 2 transformers, with the third being decommissioned. Each VOS reduced the voltage of the two remaining transformers by 6.3%. This materialises as a financial saving of £14,817/annum and an electricity saving of 178,824kWh/annum (102,186kWh – Day, 76,638kWh – Night).
  • A 7-Day timer has been installed across all vending machines, enabling them to be disabled when the building is unoccupied. The changes will reduce the time the vending machines are active by 6290 hours/annum, saving an estimated £1,309/annum.
  • Stationary purchasing, in particular paper based items, was rationalised from 1,600 product lines down to 160 core items, with all paper items being from a recycled source. This has reduced our carbon footprint and resulted in financial savings as well.
  • Without implementing a server virtualisation project we predict our electricity consumption would have increased by at least 50%.

Projects across our Estate

Case Study: RE:FIT Energy Performance Contract

In 2013 the Council entered into an Energy Performance Contract with Mitie through the RE:FIT Programme.

The RE:FIT programme offered a holistic approach to sustainably managing projects across our estate.

Tranche 1 of the scheme has been completed. Works carried out have included voltage optimisation, biomass installation, oil to gas conversion, solar PV, lighting upgrades, Building Energy Management (BEMS), Automatic Monitoring and Targeting (AM&T), heating component insulation, vending machine controls and loft insulation.

As well as Borough Hall, tranche 1 has included a multi-story car park, leisure sites, a library and community centres. Energy consumption and the potential for energy saving was used to prioritise the sites to include in tranche 1 of the scheme.

Tranche 2 is yet to start, but further projects expected to be implemented include lighting upgrades, voltage optimisation, insulation and improvements to motors and drives.

Hydro Power Facility River Great Ouse


We believe one of our key identities is the relationship we have with the River Great Ouse. The construction of a hydro power facility re-establishes the tradition of obtaining power from the river.

Two Archimedes screws at the Boat Slide Weir generate approximately 130,000kWh/annum and save approximately 60 tCO2/annum.

The renewable energy produced from this facility is used to power amenity lighting as well as exporting into the national grid.

Other Projects across our Estate

  • Automatic Meter-Reading Devices (AMRs) have been rolled out across our estate. Since 2010, 271 electricity and 170 gas devices have been installed, enabling us to monitor and target energy reductions.
  • At Norse Road Crematorium, a heat exchanger was connected to the crematorium heating system. Waste heat, once blown out of the building, is now circulated back around, reducing heating costs.
  • We installed 6 electric charging points for public use as part of the ‘Plugged in Place’ initiative.
  • Energy monitors are available from the Borough’s Libraries free of charge for a period of three weeks, enabling residents to monitor their household energy use and make changes.
  • We have installed a telematics system across our fleet of vehicles, reducing fuel consumption and improving productivity amongst trucks, road sweepers and parks vehicles.
  • New recycling bins were installed in Bedford town centre in 2010, collecting an average of 85 kilograms of plastic bottles and drink cans per bin in under two months. All existing recycling points within Borough Hall were upgraded in 2010 with orange recycling bins.

Section 2: Results and Benefits

In our eyes the key aim of any energy efficiency project should be to improve sustainability without compromising performance. In order for future projects to be passed, we need to show that the measures deliver cost-effectiveness as well as a cleaner environment.

Savings achieved to date- Borough Hall



Gas Oil 2009/10 vs Natural Gas 2015/16


Our results show that since 2010, our electricity usage has reduced by 32%, reducing CO2 tonnage by 36%.
With the replacement of the Oil supply to a gas supply, we have reduced our kWh usage by 14%, our CO2 tonnage by 43% and saved £26,438.

Savings achieved to date- Tranche 1 RE:FIT


A couple of the key sites involved with the RE:FIT programme, together with their associated savings are outlined below:





Section 3: Communication – Promoting Behavioural Change within the Borough

Case Study: Priory Country Park Visitor Centre

The Eco-Technology demonstration project at the visitor centre was used to display a range of energy and water saving technologies – to engage residents and raise
awareness within the Borough.

These technologies included:

  • Low Energy Lighting
  • Loft and Cavity Insulation
  • Triple Glazed Windows and Doors
  • Natural Daylight System
  • Rain Water Harvesting for toilet use
  • Solar Photovoltaic System (PV)


A leaflet was published for residents- a link to which is made available here:

Staff Behavioural Change and Awareness

  • The ‘Watt a Difference’ Campaign is an internal energy awareness campaign developed to raise awareness of energy and carbon reduction among staff.
  • Our first Green Office Guide launched in 2010 and aims to answer staff’s sustainability related questions and provide advice. A business version of the Green Office Guide was also made available on the Council website.
  • A selected network of Energy Champions have been appointed, tasked with increasing staff awareness by providing information and advice on energy saving in the workplace.
  • The Sustainability Team regularly attend events and hold information stands to provide information coinciding with national campaigns.

RE:FIT Programme Communication

In order to raise awareness of the RE:FIT programme internally we have:

  • Produced a dedicated area on our website that outlines some of the more prominent case studies from this project.
  • Used internal communications outlining the reasons for the RE:FIT project and celebrating the success so far.

Many of these ongoing communications with staff, stakeholders and the general public will be built upon throughout Tranche 2 of the RE:FIT programme.

Our aim is to demonstrate that:

  • We as a Council are leading by example and demonstrating best practice.
  • This Council takes environmental matters seriously and financial savings are being achieved.
  • The Council is on track with the delivery of its Carbon Management Programme, celebrating its successes and providing feedback on performance.

As our commitment to achieving these aims, we will:

  • Have dedicated and regular coverage within our staff communication channels
  • Ensure a more visible presence on our website
  • Incorporate social media activity and promotion
  • Promote resident awareness through newsletters and press releases.

Other Communications

In May 2011, we successfully gained a place on the Collaborative Low Carbon Schools Service (CLCSS) programme, delivered by the Carbon Trust. We worked with 10 pilot schools during 2011. Case studies of the results of the pilot were created and shared on the Council webpages. We are currently looking to work with the Ashden scheme to target more schools in the Borough.

Bedford Borough Council, working alongside the Carbon Trust, is currently promoting a workshop for business in the Borough, scheduled for 4th October 2016.

The workshop will help businesses understand and reduce their energy bills, providing an update on the funding opportunities available to enable them to do this.

We continue to work in partnership with Anglian Water to develop and deliver our Water Strategy.


We believe the examples outlined in this submission highlight our commitment to achieving our vision of a Borough that operates as cost effectively, efficiently and sustainably as possible