Energy and water policy

Issue date March 2017
This policy relates to energy, waste and water use in county council buildings and draws from the wider Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) Internal Energy Strategy 2015-2020 and the Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy

It reflects the councils corporate objective to deliver ‘Efficient Public Services’ and ambitions on carbon and waste reduction set out in Oxfordshire 2030: Sustainable Communities Strategy.

The scope of this policy is buildings/assets where OCC pay the energy, water and waste bill either directly or through arrangements in leases and service charges.  In terms of income generation the scope includes the full range of our assets.

Buildings where we do not ourselves cover the energy or waste costs are dealt with in the section on schools.

1.Declaration of commitment

OCC is committed to responsible energy, waste and water management to achieve cost and carbon reduction throughout its premises and operations.


We will follow the best practice principles set out in ISO 50001, the international standard for Energy Management Systems, to embed an energy management system across our everyday practices which will drive continual improvement to:

  • Objective 1. Keep annual energy costs across the corporate estate at or below 2014/15 levels (£7 million) through to 2020 by reducing energy use and purchasing energy effectively;
  • Objective 2. Make use of renewable technologies where economically viable to reduce risk of supply, reduce costs and generate income to partially offset remaining costs;
  • Objective 3. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our buildings and activities by an average of 3 per cent year on year, equivalent to 3,438 tonnes CO2e by 2020.

We will manage waste in accordance with the Waste Framework Directive to encourage the efficient use of resources, reduce consumption and take responsibility for the waste that we produce.  We will:

  • Objective 4. Embed the waste hierarchy (reduce, reuse, recycle, recover) and the proximity principle in our decision making
  • Objective 5: We will work in line with the Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy to ensure at least 65% of our waste is recycled or composted by 2020
  • Objective 6: In line with the Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy we will ensure less than 5% of our residual waste is landfilled

3. Our approach

  1. We will work within the principles of the ISO 50001 Energy Management system (EMS) to embed energy management into our everyday business practices and drive continual improvement:

Examples of application to property contracts are:

  • Senior management will champion resource reduction within the activities and deliverables of the contract
  • Policies and processes will be put in place to support the overall objectives throughout the breadth of the contract
  • The Service Provider will operate an EMS for their own operation

2.  We will use the energy/waste hierarchy to prioritise activities that save energy/reduce waste at the lowest cost, as well as maximise opportunities for energy efficiency and the generation of energy from renewable sources;

Examples of application to property contracts:

  • We will favour the least cost solutions and good ‘housekeeping’ around energy, waste and water first, including (but not limited to):
  • Ensuring staff and building users are enabled to reduce resource use in the course of their work.
  • Increasing awareness of energy efficiency and waste and water management among all staff and building users;
  • Producing and making available to building managers the analysis of energy, waste and water use and cost information and advising them on suitable activity to reduce cost;
  • Training building managers and those staff involved in the control and operation of energy- and water-using systems, e.g. heating, lighting, computer networks.
  • Ensuring the control systems in our buildings operate effectively to minimise energy use
  • Ensuring a range of recycling facilities are available and working effectively in our buildings
  • Defining a system to monitor and target unnecessary energy use and rectify identified issues
  • Minimising waste through procurement decisions
  • Suggesting and ensuring low cost measures are prioritised.

Energy investments and renewables:

  • An annual energy report, which will review and interpret the council's energy performance and outline the programme for the following year
  • Programmes will be based on OCC’s wider asset approach and delivery programme
  • A systematic approach will be taken to prioritise activity for shortest paybacks and greatest reductions in emissions; prioritising energy integration into existing programmes
  • Programmes will fit OCC’s capital allocation process
  • Consideration is given to revenue generation from renewables or grid services as a business as usual approach in strategic asset management

3.  We will fund activities through an invest to save approach – investing capital and capital finance to save a larger amount of revenue in coming years – making use of external funding where possible and advantageous:

Examples of application to property contracts are:

  • Including whole life cycle analysis scenarios in all decision making processes for new build, extensions, R and M and procurement and setting out the business case to invest.
  • Specifications in new builds allow for future energy, water and waste management to meet OCCs overall objectives (including adequate space and access for recycling containers).
  • Identifying advantageous funding sources and models
  • Setting out the sensitivity of variables used in payback calculation
  • Using Monitoring and Verification techniques to evaluate project savings and refine payback models

4.  We will make use of our organisational scale to maximise the opportunities to reduce costs both through the way we procure energy, waste and water management services and how we pay bills:

Examples of application to property contracts include:

  • Supporting the council in setting up bulk procurement contracts
  • Ensuring services are provided at the appropriate scale for sites to maximise performance but avoid paying for excess capacity; waste and utility services
  • Continually review and advise on cost reduction potential in non-commodity elements of bills
  • Providing accurate monitoring and data on consumption and trends
  • Ensuring billing is based on actual consumption and processes for acquiring/disposing of buildings minimise costs

5.  We will ensure the whole life cycle energy/waste impact of activities and of the products and services we purchase is taken into consideration within our procurement processes;

Examples of application to property contracts are:

  • Ensuring the above objectives flow through into the whole range of contract services e.g. catering , FM
  • Ensuring objectives on energy/waste reduction carrying through into contracted and outsourced work
  • Ensuring leases support our objectives on energy/waste reduction

6.  We will continue working with our current partners, and explore new partnerships where there is a clear benefit to the council and the opportunity to lever additional economic and community benefit.


Schools pay for waste, water and energy bills from their delegated budgets.  The incentive to invest/ undertake cost reduction activity therefore rests with schools themselves.  However we are aware that schools often lack the knowledge / scale / time to undertake programmes.

We therefore wish to support schools in reducing their bills where there are synergies with our wider work.

Examples of application to property contracts:

  • Schools are given the opportunity to use Salix to improve whole lifecycle costs in new build / Schools Structural Maintenance Programmes.
  • A programme is available to allow schools to invest in retrofit activity
  • Schools are included in wider county procurements where it is appropriate to do so