Why conserve energy and water?
The City of London's objectives
Making a Corporate Commitment - water consumption
Awards and accreditations - energy efficiency
Why conserve energy and water?
- Energy and water conservation means minimising their use for
operating purposes, whilst at the same time delivering a high
quality service within a sustainable framework to the City
- Energy is our most valuable natural commodity. Every day the
use of energy to sustain and maintain human living creates
pollution from exploration, extraction, supply, conversion, and
- The value of energy conservation is that it makes long term
economic and environmental sense, enhancing success in these areas
reduces bottom line operating costs, increases profit margins and
in so doing, minimises air, water and soil pollution. Saving energy
means saving money.
- Fossil fuel resources are limited. The less we use in our
generation, the more will be available for future generations. It
will also buy time to develop alternative energy resources.
- Lower energy consumption means less pollution. CO2 emissions
from burning fossil fuels accelerate the greenhouse effect and
contribute to the threat of global warming.
- The potential for savings is high. In the UK we waste £11,000
million of energy each year. This is the equivalent of the total
spending of 23 million visitors to the UK each year.
- Energy costs are historically low at present because of an
oversupply in oil on the world market and increased competition
following privatisation of the energy industry. Saving energy now
can help to offset inevitable price rises in the future.
- The treatment, storage and supply of water is also energy
intensive, and a large proportion of the cost of water goes to pay
for electricity costs. If we reduce water consumption we also
reduce energy consumption throughout the water supply chain.
- The demand for water, locally, nationally and globally is
increasing year on year. This growth in demand in the UK is placing
increasing pressure on rivers and waterways, affecting water table
heights and raising new land use issues.
- Change to land use in London over the last 50 years is causing
a rapid rise in groundwater levels under central London. The
situation of rising groundwater causes potential damage to deep
foundations and the London Underground system, but also produces
opportunities for abstraction of water, close to point of use,
- No cost or low cost measures have made impressive reductions in
water costs and consumption in many organisations.
- Water costs have risen dramatically over the last ten years and
are now at the point where investment in water saving technologies
provides short payback periods.
- The encouragement of wildlife, flora and fauna can be greatly
enhanced by the provision, maintenance and improvement of natural
water catchment areas as well as man made water features such as
ornamental lakes and fountains. The City of London will seek to
manage all such water courses in a way that encourages
Our objectives in energy and water conservation are to:
- Reduce the running costs of energy and water usage
- Maximise the efficient use of energy and water
- Minimise associated pollution at end use and by source
- Optimise the use of space and equipment
- Ensure best value, (balancing economy, efficiency,
effectiveness and quality)
- Avoid waste
- Improve water quality standards
- Encourage biodiversity in open spaces through quality
Monitoring and targeting
All the City of London's major buildings are regularly monitored
and targeted to control their energy and water consumption. A
system of Management Information Service Energy Reports has been
established to feed back information. This system has been extended
to the City of London's private commercial estate managed by the
City Surveyor. In this way local managers are directly involved in
the energy management of the site.
The City of London deploys energy wardens whose role is to
maintain awareness of energy and water conservation amongst staff
and provide local support and feedback to the energy team. It
believes the warden system promotes the collective responsibility
ethos, thereby extending the conservation philosophy.
Learning and development
Over the last three years energy wardens and senior officers
have undertaken formal awareness training in order to:
- increase awareness of energy and water use and its potential
- identify opportunities for improving energy and water
- provide support to front line staff involved in energy and
- create an understanding that energy and water conservation is
'a shared responsibility' with a major impact on the effect on the
quality of the environment.
The more people know and understand, the more likely they are to
change their attitudes, behaviour and working practices. To this
end the City of London has produced a series of awareness guides
aimed at employees and members on a variety of topics from global
warming to insulation. Supported by a series of technical handouts
the guides provide an easy reference to issues related to energy
Recent dry summers have made the conservation of water a high
priority over the last few years. Nationally, water resources have
declined at an alarming rate as a result of increased extraction,
development, intensive agricultural practices and general neglect,
leading to the silting up and succession of water courses. In
response to these issues a seminar and workshop was organised at
Burnham Beeches. The knowledge gained from experts attending the
meeting were compiled into a major publication and incorporated
into City of London management plans for the area.
Water invoice checking
Water invoicing has proved to be surprisingly inaccurate and
complex to check and verify. The energy management team spends
considerable time checking invoices and chasing errors. Mistakes
often continue over many months or even years and backdated savings
are often possible.
The City of London keeps abreast of the latest information
regarding rising groundwater in London and seeks opportunities to
reduce the risks of damage. Resources are being committed to fully
investigating the potential for the use of boreholes to abstract
water from the ground, which may be used supply to City of London
and other buildings in the Square Mile. The use of boreholes is of
particular interest where the cost of sinking the borehole can be
met by savings in water supply costs.
Housing and fuel poverty
The City of London recognises the hardship caused by fuel
poverty and is committed to developing an Affordable Warmth
Strategy to minimise hardship in partnership with community groups
and external organisations where appropriate. It will develop a
three-point plan for tackling fuel poverty:
- Raising staff and community awareness of the problems of fuel
- Targeting advice at those believed to be most vulnerable
- Developing specific plans for Housing Revenue Account property,
the Barbican, Registered Social Landlords and private sector
As a commitment to saving energy within the City of London's
public sector housing, a policy document has also been developed by
a working party of officers to improve the energy efficiency of the
Combined heat and power
The City of London has for some time been committed to a major
CHP/District heating and cooling scheme in the heart of the City.
CHP helps to reduce pollution energy consumption and the costs of
heating electricity and cooling. The system is one of only four
large-scale urban systems in the country. It is also one of only
two to have the added feature of chilled water generation and
distribution (for use in air conditioning systems). Chilled water
generation is by means of absorption chillers, which do not employ
environmentally harmful refrigerants and utilise CHP engine heat as
their energy source. The system operates from a central power
station at Smithfield and currently supplies 11 City of London
properties with heat and three with chilled water, several of these
being totally dependent on the CHP system. Four private properties
are also supplied. The district heating pipework extends for 3.6km
through the EC1 and EC2 areas of the City, whilst the district
cooling network is slightly shorter at 2.4km. Planning has
commenced on the next phase of development, which will include a
1km extension to the district heating and cooling networks to
supply new customers in the area to the south of the power
In February 1998 the City of London awarded an electricity
contract for Guildhall, 90% of which was supplied from renewable
energy. Renewable generation includes hydro, wind, wave or tidal
power, solar and bio-fuels. CO2 emission savings for Guildhall over
the term of the contract were in excess of 4,500 tonnes or 6% of
the City of London's total CO2 emissions from electricity usage.
Subsequent contracts have been awarded for public and street
lighting, the Barbican Centre, The Central Criminal Court (Old
Bailey), New Spitalfields Market, Billingsgate Market and the City
of London School. All in all, these contracts for electricity from
renewable sources have reduced the City of London's Carbon Dioxide
emissions by around 27% in this year (2000), a total of 15,000
tonnes of CO2 per annum.
Best Value climate the emphasis on obtaining optimal value for
money is becoming stronger each year. It has been central to the
City of London's purchasing policy for many years, realising
utility cost savings of £1.5m over the last five years.
The City of London's major buildings are regularly surveyed to
determine whether they continue to use energy efficiently.
Deploying either in-house or external consultants, an itemised
schedule of no cost, low cost and detailed measures are drawn up
for evaluation. The work identifies potential energy and cost
savings and environmental improvements within the buildings,
including the design, maintenance and operation of the services and
Energy Code of Practice
The City of London has fully revised its own Energy Code of
Practice for the design, maintenance and operation of new and
refurbished buildings. The code is designed to be used by in-house
designers and private consultants engaged in City of London work.
Design guides are also available for easy reference.
In 1993 the City of London was the first local authority in a
national scheme to be accredited for energy efficiency by the
Institute of Energy. The scheme enables organisations of all types
to submit themselves to external independent assessment on the way
they use and manage energy. The scheme measures commitment and
performance against three criteria:
- energy management policy and reporting structures
- investment, actual and planned improvement measures
- demonstrated progress and improvement in energy usage
Accredited status is given for a three year period only. The
City of London successfully retained its accredited status when the
award was reviewed in 1996 and 1999.
For over 25 years the City of London has a dedicated energy
committee comprising elected members and aldermen. Members of
the committee are all specialists, engineering, architecture,
finance and energy being a number of disciplines. The committee's
terms of reference can be summarised as follows:
- to develop policies and strategies in relation to energy
- to monitor legislation relating to energy conservation together
with it's implications
- to provide advice on City of London activities via the Energy
Management team to City businesses and residents.