Stirling Council save £31m with an energy-efficient streetlighting project

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Overview

As a Council we are committed to delivering a pragmatic approach to sustainability which means exactly this type of investment in improving the environment and ultimately saving significant money in future energy costs. Our staff are rising to the challenge throughout the Stirling Council area by installing the new lighting in our City, towns and villages" said Councillor Danny Gibson, Environment Committee Convenor.

Challenges & Actions

Stirling Council is borrowing £9.87m from GIB and will install light-emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of traditional sodium lightbulbs in 12,000 streetlights over four financial years.

The council will also replace 4,000 of the columns (or lampposts), marking a major investment in infrastructure for the county. Stirling is expected to cut its streetlight power consumption by 63% and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 14,400 tonnes over the lifetime of the project.  The energy saved each year would be equivalent to the total electricity consumed by over 850 homes.

GIB launched its Green Loan for local councils to help them reduce their streetlight electricity bills by up to 80%.  The Green Loan offers UK local authorities a low, fixed-rate financial arrangement over a period of up to 30 years. It has been specifically designed to finance public sector energy efficiency projects where repayments are less than the savings realised.

The UK currently spends about £300m a year powering its seven million streetlights, with fewer than one million lamps so far using low-energy LEDs.

Stirling is following in the footsteps of local authorities in Glasgow and Southend-on-Sea, making it the second council in Scotland and the third in the UK to take out a GIB Green Loan to replace its inefficient and costly old street lamps with modern, energy efficient models.

GIB and its legal adviser Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP have standardised the Green Loan investment process to save the public sector time and money in agreeing a financing package for energy efficiency projects.

The council modelled the cost-savings of the project using a streetlighting toolkit developed by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), the company setup by the Scottish Government in 2008 to help ensure value-for-money in public sector spending.

Lessons & Results

The total capital investment for street lighting upgrades and energy saving is £1.9m for 2014/2015 and £1.74m for 2015/16.

The main part of the City Centre has already been retrofitted and the floodlights replaced which are like for like, so visually it looks exactly as it was, while saving around 400% on each lantern while still meeting the required lighting level for the CCTV cameras in the area to operate.

Gordon Crosbie, Street Lighting Team Leader for Stirling Council’s Environment Services, said:

The new LED lamp posts come on around ten minutes later than the previous ones, which may not sound like much but ten minutes over 15,000 lights by the end of the year is a lot of money. It’s estimated that the LED and their driver components will last a minimum of ten years. Along with bringing down the energy bill with their lower wattage the programme also contributes to the Council’s carbon reduction target. I think it’s also made a big difference aesthetically, particularly for the older villages where we have had the old concrete columns replaced.”

  • The council will borrow £9.87m over four financial years using GIB’s Green Loan
  • The council is expected to save £31m over the next 30 years
  • Power consumption is forecast to fall by 63%, with greenhouse gas emissions predicted to drop by the equivalent of 14,400 tonnes over the lifetime of the project

The UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB) has provided a Green Loan to help Stirling Council save £31m over the next 30 years by installing energy saving streetlights.

Robert Steenson, Director of Housing and Environment, Stirling Council, said:

We are investing in the LED streetlights both to save money and make sure that Stirling Council provides high-quality services that are as sustainable as possible. We are very pleased to have worked with the UK Green Investment Bank on this deal.

More information

Ross Nisbet, UK Green Investment Bank: ross.nisbet@greeninvestmentbank.com / 03301 232 153

Gregor White, Stirling Council: whiteg@stirling.gov.uk / 01786 233 018


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