As the third largest unitary authority in the North West, Cheshire East Council has a responsibility and legal requirement to secure a sustainable future for those who live, work and visit the borough.
The council started to meet this responsibility at an early stage by signing up to the Nottingham Declaration in 2008/9 and continued with its own Carbon Management Plan. Working with the Carbon Trust, the council is aiming for a 25% reduction in carbon emissions by 2016.
When Cheshire East committed to a 25% reduction in CO2, the council needed to find products and solutions that would not only be effective but be effective quickly.
As well as helping to meet the council’s carbon target, energy efficiency also helps the council’s finances. The cost of wasted energy can be excessive, not achieving this target is estimated at £9.2 million by the Carbon Trust.
Another financial factor recognised by the council is the volatility and upward trend of energy costs. There is a strong incentive to put measures in place which manage the risk of rising energy costs. The challenge comes in finding measures which can have a significant effect.
With the majority of emissions coming from council buildings, finding products and solutions which can be retrofitted into older stock was another hurdle. Fortunately, powerPerfector’s solution is ideally suited to retrofits and can be installed with minimal disruption to day to day activities.
Several sites were identified as ‘quick wins’ at an early stage and the results from these installations encouraged the council to continue with the implementation of powerPerfector across the estate.
Westfields, Municipal Buildings, Delamere House, Macclesfield Town Hall, Macclesfield Leisure Centre and Wilmslow Leisure Centre since 2009, were followed by a variety of sites bringing the total to eleven by 2013.
One of the benefits of voltage optimisation is that each installation affects the entire site’s electrical use. This means that, when compared to projects which have a similar payback period, such as lighting, voltage optimisation can have a much larger effect.