Worcestershire County Council has been crowned Council of the Year at this year's West Midlands Energy Efficiency Awards.
The Award recognises the work that has been undertaken by the Council over the last year and the financial and carbon savings that have been achieved.
Cabinet Member with Responsibility for the Environment – Councillor Tony Miller said: "Worcestershire County Council has a comprehensive sustainability programme spanning our own buildings, our communities and local businesses. I am pleased that we have received this recognition for the progress we have made in reducing environmental impact to date and our plans for coming years."
Several projects have helped to contribute towards their saving figures including Spend to Save and the Worcestershire Energy Switch.
Through implementing a spend to save plan installing energy efficiency measures, the County Council reduced gas and electricity costs for their corporate sites by £125,000 compared with the previous year.
The Worcestershire Energy Switch saw 580 households register for a new energy tariff offer and 155 of those switch to the new tariff offered. On average, householders were expected to save £182 per year by switching to the new tariff.
Worcestershire County Council's Business Energy Efficiency programme has helped over 125 businesses in the County, providing support for an energy assessment of business premises and options for grant towards the cost of measures to improve energy efficiency. These measures might include more efficient machinery and LED lighting upgrades. The project has identified savings of 2915 tonnes CO2e per year.
So far, 45 businesses have received support from the Council's Low Carbon Opportunities programme, which provides low carbon innovation and renewable energy support to SMEs in Worcestershire. This initiative offers grants towards the cost of installing renewable technologies, such as heat pumps and solar PV to reduce the running costs and CO2 emissions. The project has identified savings of 313 tonnes of CO2e per year to Worcestershire businesses.
The council are, along with its partners at Herefordshire and Telford and Wrekin Councils, and Hereford & Worcester and Shropshire Chambers of Commerce, receiving funding from the European Regional Development Fund to deliver the above low carbon initiatives with local businesses.
Electric Cars are also available for County Council staff to use during their working day, helping to reduce both carbon emissions and business mileage claims. 12 rapid charge electric vehicle charge points are publically available across the county.
88% of schools in Worcestershire currently take part in the national Eco schools programme. In the last year there were 45 schools with Green Flag status for their work on sustainability. This work includes a focus on energy monitoring, with the pupils identifying where savings can be made by switching off equipment such as whiteboards
and classroom lights when they are not in use. Worcestershire County Council provide support to the school by coordinating training sessions and completing green flag assessments.