Ireland's public sector has taken a leadership role on climate action and has set a target of 33% energy efficiency improvements by 2020.
The Marine Institute has achieved a 27.3% energy saving since the energy baseline set in 2009, and is on track to be 33% more energy efficient by 2020.
Over the past 12 months the Marine Institute has made an overall energy saving of 14.1% through operational and behavioural changes. The Institute has concentrated on reducing energy consumption within buildings, primarily the headquarter office and laboratory facility in Oranmore.
"The Institute's Energy Strategy has engaged staff by showing how small behavioural changes, within both work and home environments, can contribute to energy savings. Switching off PC monitors and equipment whilst not in use, installing timers and LED lighting, as well as reviewing heating and temperature settings have made a difference to our energy consumption," said Ms Toni Hollowell, Facilities Manager at the Marine Institute.
The Marine Institute has reduced energy consumption by:
• Engaging staff with the Get Greener Programme; encompassing a strategy for both Energy Reduction and Sustainability throughout the Institute
• Completing four 'out of hours' energy audits at all Marine Institute offices
• Completing detailed Energy Audits of all 54 laboratories in the Oranmore headquarters and identifying energy reduction opportunities
• Installing timers on key equipment in coffee docks, main kitchen and laboratory equipment
• Replacing car park lighting with LEDs
• Completing a Heating Audit throughout the headquarter complex
• Completing a review of Fume Cupboards (FC's) operational hours and reducing excessive face velocity on all FC's in the laboratories
• Completing a review of temperature settings and use of air conditioning in laboratories
• Introducing a "Switch Off" campaign
• Introducing Bank Holiday 'Switch off' in line with OPW Optimising Power @ Work Campaign
"In the coming year, the Marine Institute will be reviewing opportunities to reduce energy consumption by our two research vessels. We will also seek to make improvements within the plant room, common area lighting and laboratory equipment operations," Ms Hollowell said.
Since 2009, public sector bodies have made over €1 billion in energy savings and avoided 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. These savings have made the public sector 24 per cent more efficient in energy use overall since 2009. Public bodies are required to report annual energy efficiency data to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) which manages the reporting process on behalf of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.