Mid & East Antrim Energy Efficiency

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is on a mission to reduce energy usage across our estate in order to reduce carbon emissions, to benefit from financial savings and to invest in more renewable technology.

59 t
Est. annual reduction in carbon
emissions (tonnes CO2 eq)

Est. number of people
who benefit directly

MEA multi-story LED replacement.

Our story

by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

Over 2020/21 and into 2021/22, we have set a number of metrics.

Baselining electricity consumption across the estate, with costing analysis to include, projected savings, and payback, to identify potential for energy efficiency technologies.
As lighting related energy consumption forms a significant portion of overall demand, adoption of LED lighting for all ongoing and future projects was supported with planned retrofit projects. A pilot retrofit LED project was designed for a multi-story carpark, as this site offered a minimum potential saving of 111239kWh per annum from lighting upgrade.

Although council procures energy in a responsible manner, through prioritising energy purchase where electricity has been generated at source by way of renewable technologies. We also try to reduce over all consumption but prioritising energy reduction which is achieved in the main through implementation of energy efficiency measures. This reduction in energy consumption is considered irrespective of energy source, as we strive to have as low of an energy footprint as we strive towards a net zero carbon footprint.
As one of our key corporate goals is to provide environmental leadership, so simply moving to sustainable / renewable sources of energy is not seen to be enough. We prioritise energy reduction where the opportunity exists independently of the energy source, carbon based or otherwise.

Although a renewable solution is planned at the pilot site, where a PV instillation is being considered to satisfy this sites electrical demand, our first step was to reduce energy consumption. In doing so we can maximise carbon reduction in cutting the carbon costs associated with the material production process in reduction in the necessary array size, and any battery bank required.

Council intends to use the data from this pilot to inform decision making on LED upgrades throughout the rest of council estate, and on the back of the success seen in the pilot work has already begun, at our 3 leisure centre sites in 2021/22, with further projects at planning stage for 2022/23 and beyond.

Our advice

In considering the first phase of energy efficiency specific projects, LED lighting was identified, as a good starting point given it is a proven mature technology. This not only offered confidence in that projected saving could be calculated through established data sets, but also offered further carbon saving through prolonged lifecycle of the technology in addition to the reduction offered through a reduction in energy consumption.

Using software base calculation tools to cross check of projected savings from energy audits which had been carried out by prospective contractors gave a good comparator, as often there can be a tendency for suppliers to project best case scenario savings. Getting accurate usage data was also crucial in determining realistic savings across the site and potentially across the estate, where savings would be determined by actual burn time of existing lighting along with efficiency offered by the technology. The pilot site was chosen, not only because of the potential offered for carbon reduction, but also because demand was readably identifiable. Set operating hours dictated lighting at the car parking, and the historic billing information supported data analysis, and more accurate projections for carbon reduction potential.

Using an average of three years of usage data in kWh, along with the averages derived from the independent energy audits plus the internal projections, we were confident that significant carbon reduction could be realised at the site. The business case was easy to make not only because of the potential to make a positive impact on carbon being produced from public service provision, but also due to the level of commitment across senior management, and interest of the cross party working group for Climate change.

Multiple scheme designs were produced, ranging from only addressing those areas where return on investment was maximised, or all internal lighting replacement, but the actual level of commitment was demonstrated for me when, the greatest financial investment option was chosen to take a holistic approach and address the entire sit internal & external parking spaces and stairwells. It was also agreed at a senior level to include control technology for each individual unit, which carried significant financial investment. I had initially designed the pilot to maximise Return On Investment (ROI) on a partial approach, so a lesson learnt for me was to trust in just how committed council is in the journey to net neutral and not to assume that ROI would be the main driver in decision making at strategic level. As it transpired that carbon cost was prioritised over financial costs at the strategic level.

Our metrics

Projected energy savings.
Projected cost savings.
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