Over the past three years energy bills at the Highland Council have risen by £3million, but it is fighting back through a £5million, five year plan to reduce energy usage in its buildings.
As part of this it is pursuing a mixture of approaches including installing solar water heating, solar electrical generation, ground source heat pumps, biomass boilers and wind turbines. It is also raising awareness of energy conserving measures.
So far this has resulted in a 12.5 per cent reduction in energy use.
Cllr Ian Ross, chairman of the planning, environment and development committee, said: “We are on track to meet our target of 4,000 kW of renewable energy by 2010, with an installed capacity of 2,366 kW by the end of this financial year.
“The message to conserve energy is also registering with our staff and users of our buildings as we are seeing real savings in energy consumption.
“We are also committed to examining the whole life costs of new buildings to ensure they are energy efficient and sustainable.
“Our new primary school at Acharacle, currently under construction, will be Scotland’s most sustainable school and all future buildings we design will incorporate renewable sources of energy.”
|Measures being introduced by the Highland Council include the installation of 63 solar panels on the south facing roof of the council chamber for £60,000.|
The installation of 32 solar thermal systems on council buildings – particularly schools – before April next year for £450,000 – supported by a 50 per cent grant from the UK Government.
It will also install solar water heating systems on 15 schools and four swimming pools.
Biomass boilers have been installed at five primary schools so far with another five by the end of the year to replace or reduce the reliance on old oil heating systems.
* The picture shows pupils at Balloch Primary School in Inverness which has set up an eco-school committee save energy at the school. The Council’s Housing & Property Service inspected the school and organised the installation of solar water heating panels.