Insights / Meeting public sector sustainability goals

How can your public sector organisation achieve its sustainability targets?

8th October 2020

Covid-19 has presented challenges to organisations of all sizes and types, but there’s been one significant positive outcome. We’ve all recognised the fragile state of our world and the importance of sustainability for the future.

At the height of lockdown, commuter traffic disappeared, cities went quiet, and weekday power consumption dropped to the lowest level seen since 1982. These changes threw into sharp relief the impact of our economy on the environment and point to interesting possibilities for the future.

Changed work and travel patterns can make a significant difference to the environmental impact of individuals, organisations and industry. The public sector accounts for around 2% of the UK’s carbon emissions, and the Government sees it as a role-model for the rest of the UK.

The sector faces challenging power consumption reduction targets, including a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020/2021 compared to 2009/2010 levels. The timing’s been fortuitous. With changes to the business landscape and sustainability coming to the fore, the energy industry’s focussed on new, innovative solutions.

Smarter power use

The public sector, which has a vast number of functions and municipal buildings, spends more than £2b each year on energy. The estimated energy efficiency measures are worth more than £800m each year to the public sector.

There are different ways to improve energy efficiency. For example, installing highly efficient LED lighting reduces consumption and costs, while upgrades to buildings – such as double glazing or cavity wall insulation – also help.

Smart meters mean customers can understand their electricity use simply and accurately, so can lead to reduced consumption and costs. This, combined with detailed insight from an audit, plus behavioural change, for example turning off lights or equipment, can add up to a significant impact.

Smart meters are the building blocks for a smarter, more sustainable power network. To find out more about what the smart grid is and what it means for organisations, click here. All good suppliers will provide smart meters at no extra cost. If you’re already a Drax customer, contact your account manager today to arrange your appointment.

Electrifying your vehicle fleet

The transport sector is estimated to account for as much as 21% of the UK’s GHG emissions. As such, accelerating the shift to low-carbon transport will provide significant support as the UK looks to meet its emissions reduction targets. These are outlined in the Paris Agreement and enshrined in UK law.

The Government’s already committed to switching its existing vehicle fleets to electric vehicles (EVs), aiming for 25% conversion by 2022. And as more EVs are produced, prices will continue to fall. The electricity industry’s geared up for the exciting possibilities that EVs will unlock, such as vehicle-to-grid solutions and asset optimisation.

These possibilities can bring added value and financial benefit to businesses and other organisations with electrified fleets. On top of the environmental benefits (i.e. reduced tailpipe emissions and no reliance on fossil fuels), EVs become a valuable and viable solution for the public sector and beyond.

Purchasing renewable power

Renewable generation has been increasing in the UK for the last decade or so, and shows no sign of slowing down. At the same time, consumer demand for sustainability has rocketed, with organisations expected to play their part in the UK’s transition towards a net-zero economy.

Many energy suppliers offer renewable contracts as standard. Choosing a renewable energy contract is the first step for public sector organisations looking to meet their emissions reduction obligations.

For large organisations, Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (CPPAs) can make sure that renewable energy matches directly to consumption. CPPAs are backed by certificates called Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs) or Guarantees of Origin (GOOs).

How Drax can help you

The pandemic’s shown that behavioural change in organisations can have a meaningful impact on power consumption. By extension, this can have positive outcomes for a wider sustainability movement.

We specialise in the complex electricity requirements of businesses and other organisations, and understand the the public sector’s unique challenges. With 100% renewable source electricity as standard, we’re committed to helping our customers become more sustainable as we aim towards a low cost, zero carbon future.

Find out how Drax can help your public sector organisation with its sustainability goals.

Contact us