National Energy Foundation recognised as top achiever in carbon reduction and management

23rd October 2013

The National Energy Foundation has received an award from the Carbon Trust for being Best in Relative Carbon Reduction (2012-13) amongst certified organisations, recognising it as one of the country's top achievers in carbon management and reduction over the past year.

The Foundation has operated from a low-carbon base for many years but significantly improved its performance during 2012-13

It originally achieved the Carbon Trust Standard in 2012, which involved verifying its carbon footprint and emissions reduction, and demonstrating a strong commitment to making further reductions year-on-year. Through the continuous evaluation of its low carbon building and further embedding energy and carbon reduction management throughout the organisation, the result during 2012-13 was an impressive 15% absolute reduction in carbon emissions and a 24% reduction relative to turnover.

There have been over 1,000 successful certifications to the Carbon Trust Standard since its launch in 2008, and the Trust’s awards give special recognition to the leading performers certified over the previous year. Each winner was presented with an award in front of an audience of over 100 during the Carbon Trust Awards Certification Conference held on the 23rd October in central London.

Speaking at the conference, Dr Kerry Mashford, Chief Executive Officer of the National Energy Foundation, commented:

"We’re delighted that the Carbon Trust has recognised the National Energy Foundation’s achievements in CO2 emissions reduction with this prestigious award.  Given our unique position in previously helping to establish and administer the Carbon Trust Standard for several years, it’s a great honour. We’re very proud of the progress we’ve made and the high standard we’ve set. Our low-carbon building, which incorporates solar pv,  ground source heating and sun pipes, together with a very strong energy efficiency ethos amongst our staff, have all played a key role in contributing to our achievement. We’re committed to continuing our efforts and become even better.

“Improving the use of energy in buildings is our overarching objective so it’s great to have the acknowledgment that we’re using our 25-year experience to practise what we preach. We’re especially pleased that this award is a reflection of our ability to deliver measurable impact by providing practical, best-practice advice to anyone wanting to improve their energy management in a single building or across the whole of their organisation.”

Kerry accepted the award by saying:

I'm delighted to be with you this afternoon on behalf of all the staff of the National Energy Foundation.

It's a great honour for the Foundation to receive special recognition for CO2 reduction relative to turnover, and I've been asked to give you some insight into how we achieved this.

As many of you know, NEF is a well-established charity which occupies a low-impact building, purpose-built about 10 years ago. At the time, the building was leading-edge and, in many respects, that's still the case today. The building employs good passive design with lots of natural light, natural ventilation and rainwater harvesting. Primary heating is by a ground source heat pump with an auxiliary pellet stove to boost heating on very cold days and, from time to time, in autumn and spring when the ground source heat pump isn't operating. The majority of our staff are naturally energy and environmentally conscious so our behaviour is considerate of both energy use and CO2 emissions.

Whilst this means we have a good basis for achieving low absolute CO2 emissions, it isn’t such a great starting point for making relative improvements!

We approached the challenge holistically. We ensured that all new IT and appliances were selected on the basis of energy efficiency, carried out further staff training and reviewed and modified the programming and use of our heating systems. We updated our travel policy, invested in both PV panels and in an electric pool car for local journeys. All these factors contributed to our 15% absolute savings and a 24% CO2 saving relative to turnover.

So, now, we have an even bigger challenge, but we're confident that there's still scope for significant improvement.

The primary objective of the National Energy Foundation is improving the use of energy in buildings, and we are now applying our building performance evaluation (BPE) approach to our own building. Across the UK, the gap between predicted and actual building energy consumption in new and refurbished non-domestic buildings is typically between 150% and 250%. Buildings are therefore often using up to 3 ½ times the energy they were expected to use. Using our BPE approach we work with, and on behalf of, individual and multiple building owners and tenants to track down and eradicate unnecessary and excessive energy use. Even with our own building, we believe this approach will deliver a step change in building energy use and hence significant CO2 savings.

I hope this gives you some ideas for how you can continue your own journey in CO2 reduction and I would urge you to focus at least part of your efforts on improving energy use in the buildings you own or occupy… and reap the business and CO2 rewards.