The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) is made up of the ten Greater Manchester councils and Mayor, who work with other local services, businesses, communities and other partners to improve the city-region.
The ten councils (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) have worked together voluntarily for many years on issues that affect everyone in the region, like transport, regeneration and attracting investment.
Recently, budgetary pressures on the public sector have added an extra challenge. How does the public sector meet environmental legislation whilst at the same time continuing to cut spending?
These challenges may seem to have contrary solutions however, there are technologies which can meet both requirements. VPO® is one such technology. It allows organisations to invest in carbon reduction while making significant savings on electricity bills. With average savings of 1%, typical payback will be under four years.
What is clear is that all public organisations are facing the same challenges and it is more important than ever that when novel solutions and best practice are found that they are shared between organisations.
AGMA has brought together the key environmental and technical decision makers from across the 10 local authorities and several associated organisations. The group works together towards strategic objectives and shares best practice between member authorities.
Local authorities, the police force and the fire service in Greater Manchester have installed VPO® in premises varying from civic centre offices, swimming pools, car parks and schools.
Communication and collaboration within the group has meant that VPO®, once reviewed, was able to be rapidly adopted.
Following more than 90 installations the group has saved over £1,000,000 to date, at an annual rate of over £500,000 a year. The group is stepping up to the environmental challenge as well, saving a combined 2,900 tonnes of CO2 annually.
Additional benefits in terms of phase balancing, power factor improvement, transient protection and harmonic suppression mean that there are further cost reductions from protecting and elongating the lifespan of electrical equipment. Each site is benefitting from a reduced maintenance cost due to the lower voltage pressure and optimum power quality.
While these benefits are not easy to quantify, clients testify that VPO® leads to maintenance savings of up to 10% – an added benefit over the 50-year lifecycle of the installation.
Adoption of VPO® has meant that the member authorities have a head start in tough financial times. Such collaborative working has helped to keep costs down and protect frontline services across Manchester.