Date issued: 2 March 2021
Cabinet members are set to discuss innovative plans to modernise the council’s Sheepen Road headquarters, when they meet next week (10 March 2021).
Members will be asked to approve proposals that would transform Rowan House into a shared public sector hub and equip the building with state-of-the-art green technology to help achieve a net zero carbon footprint for council services by 2030.
Key to the project is a £527K energy-efficient heating system and LED lighting, which have been funded through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.
Utilising an air source heat pump, powered by electricity, which uses warm air inside the building to pre-heat cooler air entering from the outside, the system produces a significantly lower carbon footprint than the current gas boiler.
LED lights will also be installed to reduce electricity consumption, and extra roof insulation will help prevent heat loss and boost the building's green credentials.
The new heating system, which will be installed at no cost to the council, is expected to save an estimated 108.7 tonnes of CO2e and the LED lighting 30.9 tonnes of CO2e per annum – contributing significantly towards the council’s climate emergency pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.
Cllr David King, Portfolio Holder for Business and Resources, said: “Our climate emergency declaration compels us to do everything we can to reduce the council’s carbon footprint and to utilise our buildings and estates in the most sustainable and equitable ways possible.
“This council is wholly committed to meeting, and wherever possible exceeding, our environmental obligations and we have led the way with ambitious, award-winning policies to help minimise our impact on climate change and the wider environment. Decarbonising and revamping Rowan House will not only bring a significant reduction in our CO2 emissions but also help generate long-term savings, encourage wider take-up of green technologies in the borough and ensure optimum use of our assets.
“I am delighted, therefore, that government funds have been secured, at no cost to residents, which will enable us to press ahead with these ambitious proposals and make Rowan House much greener and more suited to new ways of working in a post-Covid world.
“Increased home-based working by council staff has enabled us to look again at the way we deliver services and how we might do it better by freeing up and leasing floor space to other public and voluntary sector organisations, which in turn will generate new income, pave the way for more joined-up public services and reduce emissions from staff commuting.”