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£2m utility bill Antrim and Newtownabbey Council seeks more energy efficiencies

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council spends £2m on utility bills annually, a report to members has stated.

The report to the council’s Operations Committee has proposed establishing a capital fund of £300,000 to make civic buildings across the borough more energy efficient.

The local authority has admitted that energy use in some council’s buildings is “significant”.

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It has also acknowledged that an “energy efficient building fabric” is needed to be both effective in cost savings and emissions reductions

Council vehicles trialled low emission fuel

Councillors were told recently that some of the features to be included in the new £5m Newtownabbey crematorium at Doagh Road will enable heat to be reused from the cremator and photovoltaic panels will produce some electricity.

The issue of rising energy costs for the council’s buildings and vehicles was also discussed at a recent meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey’s Audit and Risk Committee.

Councillors were advised that this will pose a risk “in terms of financial health” to the local authority if costs continue to rise during the next financial year.

A Property Energy Strategy Action Plan for 2022-2025 is the next step in

Council’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis,

Key aspects of the Energy Strategy/Climate Change Action Plans focus on

the need to improve the performance of existing buildings in terms of energy

efficiency and to reduce the use of fossil fuels as an energy source.

The report to be presented to the Operations Committee at a meeting on Monday evening also stated: “The creation of a capital fund, if approved, would help to deliver energy efficiency initiatives that would provide significant reductions in energy use and by association, its carbon footprint.”

In line with the local authority’s Climate Change Action Plan, the council announced in October that it was to take part in a pilot for some vehicles in its fleet to be fuelled by processed vegetable oil as a direct replacement for diesel.

However, if it was to be fully implemented, it would result in an increased cost of £60,000 per annum to fuel the fleet although it can achieve up to 90 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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