Our energy use

The Department for Education's measures to reduce energy consumption and costs, and carbon emissions.

We publish information on our energy consumption and report on our initiatives to reduce emissions and waste.


The department is working towards the greening government commitments (GGC) for operations and procurement. These commitments replace targets for sustainable operations on the government estate (SOGE).

The GGC framework sets out targets for reducing paper usage in the 2011 to 2012 financial year, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, domestic flights, waste and water by 2015.

There are also targets and transparency commitments covering sustainable procurement, climate change adaptation, biodiversity, sustainable construction and people.

Initial analysis of cross-government GGC performance indicates that we are performing well in comparison to other departments.

The table below highlights the department’s performance for the 2011 to 2012 financial year against a baseline for the 2010 to 2011 year, and compares to the cross-government performance.

2014-15 GGC target vs 2009 to 2010 baseline DfE progress Cross-government progress
Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25% 21% 12%
Cut domestic business travel flights by 20% 62% 36%
Reduce the amount of waste we generate by 25% -2% 5%
Cut paper use by 10% in 2011-12 33% 24%
Reduce total estate water consumption 27% 3%
Report on office water use against best practice benchmarks 8.2 m3/FTE nk

Real-time energy data

We provide real-time energy data for the department’s main offices.

The figures are for these 4 main offices:

London: Sanctuary Buildings

  • 21,098 square metres
  • fully air conditioned
  • gas heating

Sheffield: 2 St Paul’s Place

  • 6,837 square metres
  • fully air conditioned
  • steam heating

Runcorn: Castle View House

  • 9,856 square metres
  • minimal air conditioning
  • gas heating

Darlington: Mowden Hall

  • 9,980 square metres
  • minimal air conditioning
  • gas heating

Sustainable operations and procurement

To set out our commitment to continual improvement in how we manage our buildings and operations, our Sustainable operations policy statement (PDF, 342KB, 1 page) is displayed in our building reception areas and online. This underpins our Environmental management system (MS Word Document, 80.5KB) for managing our environmental impacts, which is modelled on ISO14001:2004.

In July 2012, the department was awarded the Carbon Saver Gold Standard following external verification of our carbon management programme. This was in recognition of how much we have reduced our carbon emissions over 3 consecutive years.

In the 2011 to 2012 financial year, we reported a 37% reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions from our energy use and travel since the 2009 to 2010 financial year.

Also, in July 2012, the department introduced a new ‘closed loop’ paper recycling system across our estate. Closed loop paper recycling allows for the safe and secure disposal of confidential and non-confidential waste paper and for the very same paper to be reprocessed and supplied back to government as 100% recycled at a lower cost.

As well as economic benefits, this initiative offers significant environmental savings, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and fewer chemicals and bleaching agents used in the recycling process.

The department accounts for sustainability in greater detail within the Consolidated annual report and accounts (PDF, 1.42MB, 120 pages)

Further information

For more information on what the department is doing to reduce the environmental impact of its activities, please contact sustainable.operations@education.gsi.gov.uk.

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