20th November 2023
Sunderland City Council has set an ambitious goal to become carbon neutral by 2030. One of the strategic priorities defined in our Low Carbon Action Plan, which outlines our commitment to achieving a 25% reduction in carbon emissions annually, is the development of an energy-efficient built environment.
In order to reach this vision, we have been actively seeking solutions and strategic partnerships to reduce carbon emissions across the city. Making council-owned and managed buildings carbon neutral is a key part of our mission to reach Net Zero.
Through the success of the Smart Building Challenge, Nomad Digital was awarded a commercial contract to implement working prototypes of their proposed solutions to reduce building emissions. IoT devices, connected to our LoRaWAN network, were piloted out at Evolve Business Centre and Leechmere Estate to analyse the potential of these solutions. By harnessing the potential of IoT and advanced data analytics, Sunderland City Council and partners demonstrated the efficacy of these tools in achieving meaningful reductions in carbon footprints.
This collaborative effort highlighted the importance of strategic partnerships between local authorities and innovative businesses. By actively engaging with tech startups and SMEs, Sunderland City Council fostered an environment conducive to innovation, encouraging fresh ideas and solutions to make Sunderland an urban centre of the future.
Due to the success of the pilot, and with the Council’s 20-year strategic partnership with Boldyn Networks now providing a backbone of connectivity, the Energy Efficiency programme has been rolled out to a series of 12 locations across the city including Sunderland Software Centre, the Museum and Winter Gardens, City Hall, Ryhope Junior School, Washington Business Centre and more.
The carbon reduction potential for 14 buildings is >1,000 tonnes per annum; compared to the council buildings’ total of 8,000 tonnes per annum.
This project is not only environmentally responsible but also financially advantageous. During the pilot phase of the programme, we saw encouraging outcomes: with cost savings of around £40k per year through energy reduction efforts. It is predicted the next phase could generate remarkable energy cost savings of £400k+ annually and an impressive £2m+ saving over a 5-year period. 25% of these savings can potentially be made through process optimisation, with payback of less than one year: a fantastic return on the council’s investment to embed carbon neutrality throughout the city.
The innovation challenge and the initial pilot has showcased the power of smart city solutions and cutting-edge technologies in mitigating carbon emissions.