The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is the second largest fire service in the country covering ten local authorities.
The associated carbon footprint is large, in 2008/2009 the baseline was calculated at 8880 tonnes of CO2.
A significant proportion of these emissions come from energy consumption and the fire service has recognised the need for action. Projects from rain water harvesting to designing more effective exhausts are reflections of the progressive stance the service is taking on sustainability. It has recently been described as a ‘pioneering authority’ by the Audit Commission.
Apart from the obvious drivers for sustainability, the fire service has also recognised that gas and electricity costs have risen 250% in the last decade and so is looking for technologies with ‘proven economic paybacks’ to counter the effects of further energy price rises.
The fire service initiated a project in May 2010 to evaluate the effect of VPO® at 18 sites (20 electrical supplies) which each consumed over 100,000 kWh. VPO® was selected for its financial and environmental savings but also because of its ability to remove spikes in the incoming supply, thus protecting electrical equipment.
In the civil protection arena, the security of electrical supply and associated electrical equipment are essential to supporting the vital services performed. The technologies power quality benefits provide security to the whole site as the VPO® unit is integrated at the point of supply.
Included in the 18 site evaluation were regional command centres, a training centre and the service’s headquarters. The importance to maintaining continuity of service at these sites cannot be overstated.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is saving 328,700 kWh per annum following the installation of eleven powerPerfector VPO® units. This is equivalent to £32,000 and 179,000 kg of CO2 emissions. The project was supported with funding by the NWIEP and managed along the PRINCE2 methodology to ensure a smooth programme. GMFRS is the first fire authority to pioneer voltage optimisation across its estate.