Saving energy is the new mantra

April 27th, 2011 by Richard Lord

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The Japanese have made a commitment to reduce their electricity use by up to 25 percent this summer, in the wake of the devastating tsunami that hit the northeast coast of Japan on 11 March 2011 and shut down a fifth of Japanese nuclear power plants.

Japan may endure rolling blackouts for up to five years because of a deficit in electricity generation caused by the earthquake and tsunami.  In Tokyo and surrounding areas, signs of electricity conservation are visible everywhere.

In developed economies we take electricity for granted. In recent decades our electricity use has increased steadily both in business and at home.

However there is a growing awareness that this trend cannot continue and that our society is wasteful of precious energy resources.

It is acknowledged that our society can reduce energy use by being aware of its use.

On 14 April 2011 Craig Shorto, Guernsey’s Energy Conservation Officer, was interviewed by Kevin Stewart of BBC Guernsey.

Craig Shorto has been tasked with reducing the energy use of the States of Guernsey.  He said “we have started to cut the budget on energy utility bills by ten percent last year and there’s going to do a further cut in 2012 by another ten percent.”

“Most of this is going to be done by low cost, no cost measures with general good housekeeping and a cultural change in attitude.  Simple things like looking at the lighting in the offices, looking at how we control the heating, making sure the heating controls are optimised, and general awareness by staff to make sure they switch off their monitors and computers when they are not being used.  It is a general cultural change in attitude to energy use.”

“All States of Guernsey departments are being asked to look at savings across their department as far as utility bills are concerned.”

“Good housekeeping applies to domestic properties as much as it does to commercial properties.  The average computer left on over night will consume about 150 watts, which doesn’t sound a lot.  Over the year that costs about £7.  You take that in the context of a small office of ten computers, that’s £70, and £700 in an office of 100 computers.  We have 4,500 employees in the States of Guernsey.”

“My role is to coordinate the information.  All departments have been tasked with monitoring their energy use, recording their energy use on a monthly basis, and I get to see those figures on a quarterly basis and I can put a benchmark against that figure to see if there are areas where they could be saving more than they are.”

It is for the Treasury and Resources to enforce the reduction in energy use as far as the budget is concerned.

“Last year Guernsey Airport carried out an independent energy survey.  That survey came up with certain measures that needed to be addressed – the control of heating, air conditioning and lighting.  A lot of those measures have been put in place.  There are still the low cost, no cost issues that need to be addressed – the cultural change to people’s attitude to using energy.  The airport has guidelines to proceed with and they are making savings.”

“Each States of Guernsey department has an Energy Champion within it who is tasked with looking after their department and trying to get the message across and coordinating the monitoring of the energy use.”

“I will try and assist where I can as a central knowledge base for the States of Guernsey and try and guide them in the right approach to reducing energy costs.”

The Beau Sejour Leisure Centre, the Culture and Leisure Department’s largest energy user, has done very well reducing their energy costs by a good 20 percent over the last couple of years.  They had an independent energy survey making recommendations and they have acted on those recommendations.

 

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