The RE:FIT programme is the largest energy-saving project ever to be undertaken by Bedford Borough Council and was carried out using the Greater London Authority’s RE:FIT framework.
RE:FIT was an attractive prospect due to its quick start-up and its performance guarantees. The programme also offered a holistic approach to managing sustainability projects across multiple buildings.
The initiative saw works undertaken at several council properties, including solar PV across a range of sites, loft and heating/cooling insulation at Robinson Pool, the installation of a biomass boiler at our headquarters, and the transformation of oil-powered heating to gas. 22 sites underwent upgrades through two phases and the project was funded by a £3.2M investment from the council.
These projects have had a significant impact on our carbon emissions and energy costs. For example, the transition from oil to gas and biomass at Borough Hall saw a saving of around 695 tonnes of CO2. While the upgrades at Robinson Pool delivered a financial saving of £3,791 per annum.
RE:FIT significantly decreased the council’s energy costs across a wide range of buildings and reduced our environmental impact by reducing the use of fossil fuels. We were able to effectively measure this impact by investing in AMR meter technology across all council sites and schools in Bedford. RE:FIT measures also reduced the council’s carbon emissions by more than 1000 tonnes annually and, from our baseline in 2010, we have cut emissions by 62%.
These impressive savings are helping Bedford Borough Council to reach its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Develop effective partnerships – Partnership working is central to energy performance contracts. By developing a strategic partnership, major energy and carbon savings can be achieved. The partnerships last long after project implementation.
Expect the unexpected – Installing the new biomass boiler at our headquarters threw up a range of unexpected issues, from asbestos to the challenges of working in an extremely confined space. Build in contingencies and maintain good communication to stay on track.
Look at additional benefits – The changes made through the RE:FIT programme have not only improved our environmental impact, but they have also created better, more efficient, and more comfortable environments for our staff and the wider community.
Amount of carbon savings achieved by reducing electricity consumption (31%).
Amount of savings achieved by converting from oil to gas (47%).