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Gillingham library
Gillingham Library.

Dorset Council has installed a host of energy saving measures at libraries across Dorset in a bid to cut down on carbon emissions and energy costs, it says.

And the library in Gillingham is leading the way in the initiative.

Over the past six months, the council has installed a wide range of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures at fifteen library sites in the council area.

The measures – that range from highly efficient LED lighting to advanced building management systems – form part of the council’s response to the climate and ecological emergency and are expected to save over £40,000 a year in electricity and gas costs and reduce annual energy use by more than 275,000 kilo-watt hours (which is over a quarter of the energy used last year across all 15 sites).

The work, which will make the libraries more energy efficient and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, has been fully funded by the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, a scheme set-up by the government and delivered by Salix to reduce the emissions of publicly owned buildings across the UK.

One of the sites benefitting from the scheme is Gillingham library and museum, where solar panels have been installed and state-of-the-art upgrades made to its existing building management system. The solar panels installed on the library roof will provide zero-carbon electricity to the site, whilst the building management system makes sure the library’s heating is working as efficiently and effectively as possible with minimum energy wasted.

Together, the measures installed at Gillingham Library are expected to save around 57,000 kilo-watt hours of energy each year and what the council describes as ‘an impressive 13 tonnes of carbon emissions’.

Gillingham Library
Gillingham Library.

Addressing the energy efficiency of council-owned buildings is one of the key actions set out in the council’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy. With around 30 per cent of Dorset Council’s emissions coming from its buildings, it says projects like this will play a vital role in helping it reach its target of becoming a carbon-neutral council by 2040.

Councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: ‘I am delighted to see the steps taken to reduce the carbon footprint of our library service. Not only will these measures take us closer to our net-zero goal, but they will also help protect our libraries from the rapidly rising electricity and gas prices.

‘Reducing running costs will help us continue to deliver the wide range of services through our libraries that are so important to so many across Dorset. And at the same time accelerate our shift away from fossil fuels towards a cleaner future.

‘A huge well-done to the Assets and Property team of Dorset Council who have been pivotal in making this project happen, and to the programme board who have met regularly to secure its success.’

Efforts to cut energy use in Dorset libraries are part of a much wider programme of work by the council to reduce the carbon footprint of its buildings, it says.

Residents can keep track of the council’s progress in tackling the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) on its social media pages, and by visiting the CEE section of the Dorset Council website.

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