Cheshire East Council on track for estimated £1.3m savings after switching to greener street lighting

Council is set to pave the way for energy efficient street lighting and save thousands of pounds in the process.

Cheshire East Council is estimated to save over £655,000 a year and drastically reduce its carbon emissions following a transformational street lighting upgrade to thousands of units across the borough.

The upgrades, which are being completed in several phases, are set to significantly reduce annual street lighting consumption and maintenance costs. This will save the council approximately £13.1m in energy costs alone, over the lifetime of the projects. The switch will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, helping the council to achieve its emissions reductions targets. Around 27,000 traditional street lights will be replaced with energy efficient LED alternatives over a three-year period. The council is using £3.2m in interest-free funding from Salix Finance. Salix is an independent, government-funded organisation that provides interest-free loans to the public sector to increase energy efficiency measures.

The current project will see approximately 27,000 old SOX / SON street lanterns replaced with more efficient and reliable LED lighting. More than 9,000 units have already been changed as part of the first phase of the project, and a further 9,000 are set to be upgraded by December 2017.The remainder of the local authority’s lighting upgrade project is set to complete in in 2018.

Once completed, the current project will save the council an estimated £655,000 a year. The project is the latest in a series of energy efficiency initiatives undertaken by Cheshire East Council. It follows on from an initial upgrade scheme that was completed in March 2016. This involved the replacement of 8,738 outdated lanterns on key traffic routes. They were replaced as part of the council’s strategy to meet its 27% carbon reduction target for 2016.

With over 40,000 streetlights on the highway network in Cheshire East, street lighting accounts for around 14% of the council’s total CO2e emissions. In total, the street lighting improvements are expected to save the council over £1.3m a year in energy bills, as well as reducing its annual COemissions by more than 2,361 tonnes*.

Paul Traynor, Strategic Commissioning Manager for highways at Cheshire East Council said: “Energy efficiency can be the most cost effective and quickest way of reducing carbon emissions and meeting the challenge of increasing energy prices. As well as using less energy and lasting longer, the new LED lights have further technical advantages over older street lighting in that they can be readily dimmed and instantaneously be turned on and off. The positive impacts of the upgrade are significant, both for the residents and the Council’s revenue budget.”

Councillor David Brown, Cheshire East Council deputy leader and cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “The council has a strong working relationship with Salix that has developed following the decision to invest in energy efficient LED street lighting technology.

“Two years of collaboration has delivered an ambitious street lighting programme, fully supported by Salix from the start of the funding process, to completion. Salix remain close to the project by visiting the site to witness the outcome of the investment, which is securing positive improvements for the council and its residents.

“The benefits of a collaborative approach to the successful delivery of the LED upgrades are now being realised.  The close partnership between Cheshire East Council and Salix has improved understanding of requirements of the business case, which helped to secure a series of highly scoring bids for funding. Small improvements have also been identified that will bring efficiencies to the process for Salix and all local authorities.”

The funding from Salix will cover approximately half of the total project cost. Each phase of the project will be paid back over 4.9 years from the savings recouped from the council’s annual energy bills and subsequently have a significant positive impact on the Council’s revenue budget.

The Government funded programme is supporting public bodies across the country to facilitate energy efficiency improvements by making finance available for such projects.

Since 2008, Salix has issued over £92 million** worth of loans to complete street lighting projects, resulting in significant carbon and financial savings to over 90 local authorities across the UK.

*Calculated using emissions factors published by government in 2017 for carbon footprinting purposes.

**Figures as of 31 March 2017.

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