Thurrock gets “green” light

A PROJECT aimed at reducing Thurrock Council’s costs and carbon emissions at the same time is in line for a top environmental award.

The council’s partner, Europa — which provides support in a wide range of activities — was asked to look at reducing energy consumption and costs while improving lighting throughout the Civic Offices in New Road, Grays.

The project proved so successful it has won a Green Apple Environment Award in the national campaign to find Britain’s greenest companies, communities and authorities.

Four specific areas for improvement were identified: lighting in the reception area; lighting control on three of the five floors (the other two had been upgraded eight years earlier); improving the chandelier lighting in the council chamber; and upgrading the office’s florescent lighting.

The cost of the improvements was £82,265, but half of that was provided by specialist Salix grant funding.

The project is expected to save over £15,000 a year — so it will break even after five years and continue saving after that.

In addition, all of the projects will benefit from reduced maintenance costs due to increased rated life-cycle of the new technology.

It has also resulted in a reduction of 125.5 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

Kevin Redman, Europa Account Manager said: “These projects have been designed by Europa’s Thurrock based in-house technical ream whose engineers were given the project brief and developed innovative solutions while calculating the efficiency and emission savings.

“They ensured the projects were viable before finance was sought. Funding was sourced via Salix to reduce the overall cost, which made each project more attractive for the council.

He added: “This has focused the team to develop other innovative ideas. Similar projects are being researched in the council’s other building stock and once finance has been allocated or sought, then these will be completed.”

Thurrock Council Leader, Cllr John Kent, said: “This is a superb example of investing to save. Councils across the country are having to tighten their belts and Europa’s example is something all should take to heart.

“These projects will break even after five-and-a-half-years, and will then continue to reduce fuel cost and emissions. The Civic Offices are the central council building where most of its business is completed, with approximately 2000 staff and hundreds of visitors daily — yet this was completed without disruption.

“Congratulations to all.”

Europa will be presented with their Green Apple Award at the House of Commons on 14 November.

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