Brits Get Access to Real-Time Gov't Energy Use

Brits Get Access to Real-Time Gov't Energy Use

The public can now track how much energy is being wasted by Whitehall employees, after the government announced that online energy displays have now been made available for all 18 Whitehall headquarters.

Just three months after the Prime Minister announced that central government would cut emissions by 10 percent over the next year, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) confirmed that all departments have made detailed energy data available.

DECC and the Home Office led the way with energy meters that update departmental energy use every five seconds, while other departments have provided online meters that provide data on an hourly or daily basis. All the data is being made available through the government's new Data.gov.uk website.

According to official figures, energy spend across the public sector estate reached £2.6bn in 2008/09, and generated 19.5 MtCO2e (Metric Tonne Carbon Dioxide Equivalent) in carbon emissions.

Energy and Climate Change minister Greg Barker said providing information about how much energy is being wasted is the first step towards changing staff behaviour across the government estate.

"For too long Whitehall has been guilty of preaching and not acting on efficiency," he said. "Slashing energy waste in government needs to happen fast, as much for tackling the public finances as for climate change. Shining a spotlight on what's being used in real time will help staff change their behaviour and the public hold us to account. We said we'd be the greenest government ever and we mean it."

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said the publication of the real time energy figures demonstrated the government's commitment to transparency. "As with other transparency initiatives we urge the public to really hold our feet to the fire and make sure that we drive down our energy use as much as possible," he added.

Real time energy meters help departments to identify when and where energy is being used and help them try and find ways to reduce that energy use, for example by reducing the use of cooling systems and turning off IT equipment when not in use.

In July, the Government announced an Energy Efficiency Code under which departments and facilities management contractors that help maintain government buildings will work in partnership to slash carbon emissions and share their expertise in reducing energy emissions.

This article originally appeared on BusinessGreen.com and is reprinted with permission.

Photo CC-licensed by Henry.