News story

PM challenges departments to slash energy use

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Prime Minister challenged Whitehall ministries to compete to slash the energy used in their departmental HQs over the month of October.

As each department strives to cut emissions at their Whitehall HQ, an online league table will be updated daily to allow the public to see how each department is doing.

View the league table (data.gov.uk).

The competition builds on the pledge back in May that the Government would reduce emissions on its estate by 10%.

The PM said:

In May I called for real action to make us the greenest government ever. I made a commitment that over the next 12 months, central government departments would reduce their carbon emissions by 10%.

We have made a start but clearly we can all do much more to show leadership on this vital issue. So today is a clear challenge to Cabinet ministers and an opportunity for the public to hold us to account.

Departments have already been working hard to achieve the reduction:

  • the Home Office has signed a “payment by results” investment and performance contract with British Gas and facilities management experts Amey to deliver energy saving solutions
  • DCMS is using IT virtualisation technology to reduce the number of network servers it uses
  • DECC could be trialling ceiling tiles which store heat during the day and release it in the evening as part of the Technology Strategy Board “Energy Efficient Whitehall” green technology project

During the competition and throughout the year staff in all departments, across the whole estate of 7,000 buildings, will come up with practical and imaginative ways to reduce their energy use.

The competition will be based on which departments’ ministerial HQ buildings do the most during the month of October to reduce energy consumption as a proportion of their energy use, compared to the total energy consumption in September.

The league table application, called GovSpark, will show data from the 18 government real time displays. The original prototype for GovSpark was developed by Isabell Long, aged 16, during Young Rewired State 2010, an event run for young developers aged 15 to 18 working with open government data.