We are committed to supporting the UK government’s ‘Greening Government’ targets and aims for mainstreaming sustainable development into policies, processes and operations.
All government departments have been set five-year environmental targets (to 2015) covering: energy from offices, business travel, waste, water and paper. One of these targets is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and UK based travel by 25%.
HMRC has a complex and disparate estate, from listed historical buildings to 1960s office blocks, spread over 378 offices at 291 locations across the UK. Our Executive Agency, the Valuation Office Agency, occupies a further 72 sites.
Between the baseline year of 2009-10 and the end of 2012-13, we recorded a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from our buildings and UK based travel. Savings came from a combination of our estates rationalisation programme, voltage optimisation, lighting improvements and a successful behaviour change campaign.
Headquarters energy use
Our headquarters site at 100 Parliament Street in London, is shared with HM Treasury who occupy the 1 Horse Guards Road side of the building. The building receives heat via the Whitehall district heating system, which serves other government HQ sites locally. The site has a mixture of naturally ventilated and mechanically cooled offices and rooms.
Display Energy Certificates (DECs) and Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in Scotland indicate the energy performance of a building. Each allocates a numerical indicator which relates to the annual CO2 emissions from the building - the lower the numerical indicator, the better the energy efficiency of that building. An energy performance operational rating of 100 would be typical for a building of 100 Parliament Street’s type so the current rating of 75 is good.
Since we first published the data from 100 Parliament Street, we have taken a number of additional measures to reduce carbon emissions from the building:
- daytime heating levels are being adjusted as planned to 20°C, in line with Government Energy Mandate targets
- running a communications campaign, including an event to remind all staff of the measures they can easily take to reduce energy consumption
- security and cleaning staff are ensuring that all lights are switched off at the end of the working day
- automatic light sensors have been adjusted downwards, to turn off lights automatically after 15 minutes
- messages on switching off unnecessary lights, computer monitors and other electrical items are displayed on the foyer plasma screen to remind staff
Real time energy use
Real time energy data at 100 Parliament Street is generated from information taken every 5 seconds from on site meters. A small low power computer takes frequent readings from the electricity meters and stores the data.
Every few seconds this computer sends the information it has collected to a server, which produces real time energy graphs. These graphs show how the current level of usage relates to the building’s operational rating, as set out in the Display Energy Certificate.
Supporting the environment
As the department responsible for administering environmental taxes, we play a particularly important role in protecting the environment and supporting initiatives to slow the rate of climate change.
In our own offices, we’re making good progress as we work towards the 2015 Greening Government environmental targets. By the end of March 2013 we had:
- cut greenhouse gas emissions from our buildings and UK based travel by 25%
- cut the amount of waste we generate by 44%
- reduced the amount of copier paper purchased by 30%
- cut the number of domestic flights by 50%
- reduced the amount of water we use by 24%
- achieved a water efficiency benchmark of 11m3 per person.
Further information on our performance can be found in HMRC’s annual report and accounts.
All our information technology waste is required to be recycled, reused or resold, and our ‘closed loop’ recycled paper concept (where our waste copier paper is recycled into new copier paper) has been mandated across central government. We are also maximising the use of Government Procurement Service contracts to ensure our purchases are sustainable, and we are embedding sustainability in our supply chain by asking our suppliers to benchmark their environmental, social and economic performance by using the online tool, CAESER (Corporate Assessment of Environmental, Social and Economic Responsibility).