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.


We are 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 our performance for the 2013 to 2014 financial year against a baseline for the 2009 to 2010 year, and compares to the cross-government performance.

2014 to 2015 GGC target vs 2009 to 2010 baseline DfE progress Cross-government progress
Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25% -38% -6.5%
Cut domestic business travel flights by 20% -42% -77%
Reduce the amount of waste we generate by 25% -67% 16%
Cut paper use by 10% in 2011-12 -8% -0.3%
Office estate water - m3/full time equivalent employee 5.9 8.1
Reduce total estate water consumption (m3) -43% -0.3%
Sustainable procurement and improve supply chain engagement Qualitative Not calculated

Real-time energy data

We provide real-time energy data for our main offices.

General information about our 3 main offices:

Building location Building size Air conditioning Heating
London - Sanctuary Building 21,098 square metres Fully air conditioned Gas heating
Sheffield - 2 St Paul’s Place 6837 square metres Fully air conditioned Steam heating
Darlington - Mowden Hall 9980 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, we display our Sustainable operations policy statement (PDF, 342KB, 1 page) in our building reception areas and online. This underpins our Environmental management system (PDF, 96.3KB, 2 pages) for managing our environmental impacts, which is modelled on ISO14001:2004.

In July 2012, we were 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, we 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. The very same paper is 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.

More detail on sustainability is available in the Consolidated annual report and accounts.

Further information

For more information on what we are doing to reduce the environmental impact of its activities, please contact:

Sustainable operations