What are we doing?
Sustainability is a key priority for the council – we are working hard to reduce energy use, reduce resource use and improve reuse/recycling of materials, to reduce our transport emissions and promote community regeneration. Here are just a few examples of what we are doing:
Over the past few years we have been able to reduce our energy consumption and carbon footprint through investing in energy efficient lighting, insulation and new heating systems. Our heating and lighting bills are over £4 million, and our vehicle fuel costs are similar, so anything we can do to reduce these costs will help us to maintain services and protect jobs within the council.
Last year we reduced our energy consumption on buildings by over 3%, and reduced our fuel costs by around 8%.
Vehicle usage is our other big challenge when it comes to the council's carbon footprint. Our council owned vehicle fleets have been travelling over 7 million miles per annum, and vehicle mileage by staff was almost 6 million miles per annum. Combined, this is enough for 26 return journeys to the moon, every year. Last year we managed to reduce fleet mileage by 770,000 miles, a reduction of over 10% and vehicle usage by staff in their own vehicles by just over half a million miles, a reduction of 9%. This is a tremendous result for just one year.
To encourage staff to travel to work by other means, we’ve also supported around 250 members of staff to purchase bicycles through the “cycle to work scheme”.
Our recycling rates have exceeded 50% reaching 43% in 2012/13, and we now have kerbside recycling available to 99% of all households in Carmarthenshire. All council premises and schools encourage recycling separate food collection.
All council staff have been encouraged to establish and participate in Green Teams in our main buildings, and 12 have been established to-date in Carmarthen, Llanelli and Ammanford.
The teams are cross-departmental and address issues that are specific to that particular building. These can vary from energy use (including energy efficiency measures and use of renewables) and water use, to waste, recycling and transportation.
The overall goal of the Green Teams is to reduce energy use and the carbon footprint of that building. To date they have implemented a number of measures, including:
- Energy efficiency audits and messages to promote greater efficiency
- Installation of energy efficient light-bulbs in the council’s main buildings
- Installation of power-down devices to reduce energy use
- Installation of 'hippos' (water saving devices) in the toilets
- Increased the number of recycling bins available
- Replacing plastic cups (supplied with water coolers) with glass ones
- Promoting cycling to work schemes
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