Hydro project boosts Bedford Council’s energy saving efforts – earning a major award

Samantha Guy and Paul Pace from Bedford Borough Council pick up the award for energy saving.

Bedford Borough Council has picked up an award at Anglian Water’s second annual ‘We Love What You Do’ business awards, which recognises companies that are protecting the environment and helping secure the future of the East of England.
The council scooped the Drop Energy award as a result of a series of projects and initiatives that are said to have resulted in a 35% carbon cut since 2010 in council buildings. These include:
• A hydro power facility at the site of the former Bedford Boat Slide, which feeds lighting along the river and generates income though sales to the National Grid, as well as providing a local educational resource.
• The award of an Energy Performance Contract to Mitie. Under the contract, an initial tranche of seven of the council’s buildings have been targeted for the installation of a range of technologies including lighting upgrades, solar pv panels, insulation and boiler upgrades. Three of the four original oil boilers in the Council’s Borough Hall headquarters have been converted to operate on gas, with the final boiler being replaced with a 900kW biomass boiler.
• Air conditioning costs at the Council’s data centre were cut from £3000 to £600 per month following the installation of four evaporative cooling units.

Future projects
Further projects are scheduled for 2016. Cllr Charles Royden, Deputy Mayor and Portfolio Holder for Environment & Transport said: “Public sector budgets are tight but we see reducing energy, water and carbon not only as an opportunity to make savings and generate income, but to work more efficiently and in a more sustainable way.” Bedford is now turning its attention to water. The council has put together a water strategy which initially targets behavioural change to reduce consumption and cost, and will go on to explore both low cost measures and higher cost water saving technologies and reuse.
The council has already worked with Anglian Water Business on water audits, tariff optimisation (which alone has saved £2,000) and consolidated billing.
Bob Wilson, managing director of Anglian Water Business, said: “It’s great to see so many businesses and public sector organisations who recognise their environmental responsibility as a commercial opportunity. Organisations that know sustainability makes financial sense and that it’s no longer a practice done for legal or charitable reasons, it’s a growth strategy. We launched these awards to remind people about the many positive stories out there and to give the people who run these important projects the recognition they deserve.”