350 Public Bodies Convene to Progress Energy Saving Strategies

Almost 350 public bodies and government departments attended the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) first public sector conference at UCD in an effort to advance energy efficiency.

Working towards the Government’s target of 33% energy saving  by 2020, attendees  learned about best practice in energy efficiency; from changes in transportation, behavioural change in organisations, building and facility upgrades, retrofits and structured energy management. The most recent annual report on the energy efficiency performance of public bodies published by SEAI last year, showed that the public sector avoided €154 million energy spend through improved energy efficiency in 2015.  The sector is now 21% more energy efficient, and with concerted effort, is on track to meet the 33% energy saving target. 

Opening the conference, Jim Gannon, CEO, SEAI said: “The public sector has already made major strides in energy efficiency in the last number of years, saving hundreds of millions of euro. In the remaining four years, we need a focused effort from all public organisations to close the gap. SEAI is hosting this conference to help public bodies on their efficiency journey, so they can plan and prioritise activities, identify the skills and resources needed and ultimately achieve significant energy savings by 2020.” 

Jim Gannon continued: “SEAI is working closely with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to define the pathway for the public sector to achieve its 33% energy efficiency target and Government recently approved the Public Sector Energy Efficiency strategy as presented by Minister Denis Naughten T.D.” 

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Through facilitation and brainstorming sessions, attendees to the conference will learn more about measuring their exact gap to target and how they can get there. Organisations that have made significant progress on their energy strategies, with support from SEAI, will share their experiences, such as University College Cork and its certification to ISO50001; Dublin County Council and its energy service outsourcing through a financed energy performance contract; Coillte and its use of green public procurement; OPW and the Irish Prison Service on building energy metering projects, and Cork University Hospital and its staff energy awareness programmes. 

This is the first public sector conference of its kind to be hosted by SEAI. With public bodies spending €588million on energy in 2015, and representing 6% of Ireland’s overall energy use, the Government is committed to achieving the 33% target as detailed in the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan and will soon publish a Public Sector Energy Strategy.

Pictured are: Jim Gannon, Chief Executive SEAI with Prof. Andrew J Deeks, President of UCD. Picture Colm Mahady / Fennells – Copyright© Fennell Photography 2016

SEAI’s 2016 Public Sector report is available at:  http://www.seai.ie/Publications/Your_Business_Publications/Public_Sector/Annual-Report-2016-on-Public-Sector-Energy-Efficiency-Performance.pdf