Dudley sits in the heart of the Black Country, a region that was pivotal to the industrial revolution. To this day energy is still vitally important to the day-to-day operation of the Councils buildings and with rising energy costs, and concern for the environment the Council were keen to commence action on reducing usage and implementing alternative forms of low-carbon or renewable generation.
Excluding schools, the Contracting Authority spends approximately £5.7 million on utilities
Phase 1 of this 10 year energy performance contract comprises 12 buildings partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), who awarded Dudley Metropolitan Borough £1m in order to address the ‘low carbon priority axis’. As part of the funding agreement, the Authority has committed to delivering a CO2 reduction of a minimum of 200 tonnes as well as an annual reduction in energy usage (gas and/ or electric) of 850,000KWh.
The first phase of the project has been kept relatively simple as this is meant to serve as a focused, pilot project. It includes a number of energy-intensive buildings, such as leisure centres, offices with server rooms, and the Authority’s main office building, the Council House. The rest of the portfolio is being assessed in phases, including schools, and land with potential for large scale renewable energy.
This has truly been a ‘lock down’ project, with the project being awarded just prior in February and contracts being signed remotely through the first 2 weeks of lockdown in March 2020.
“This could have been the perfect excuse to request an extension to the timetable set within the tender documentation but we looked at the original timetable and the Government regulations and Construction Leadership Councils operating procedures for Covid-19 and felt we could still meet these dates by adapting our surveying procedures and making the most of the mainly empty buildings.” Richard Hall, Senior Project Manager for Asset+
The final Investment Grade Proposal was actually submitted in advance of the original deadline and works then programmed to commence in October which ended up being perfectly timed to coincide with the second lockdown!
Once again this was a perfectly reasonable opportunity for the Asset+ team to request an extension to the set programme but with the adapted Covid working procedures established through the IGP period the team were confident of being able to continue meeting the timescales they had agreed with Dudley.
Despite a third lockdown coming into play from January, the works have continued to meet the original programme with an application through the Public Sector Decarbonisation scheme submitted for Phase 2 works along the way.
Overall the scheme is providing the following annual savings for Dudley;