Cork County Council has became the first Local Authority in Ireland to be fully accredited to ISO50001, the international standard for energy management, and in achieving this accreditation has now reached its legislative requirements under the EU Energy Efficiency Regulations 2014 ahead of schedule.
These Regulations oblige all Public Sector bodies falling within certain specified criteria to carry out comprehensive organization wide energy audits or become ISO 50001 compliant by December 2016.
In receiving this award Cork County Council is the first and only local authority in the country to achieve this highly significant recognition and accreditation for its whole of service energy management system which has considerable positive implications for energy saving and carbon emissions long-term.
Tim Lucey, Chief Executive of Cork County Council, on announcing the accreditation and acknowledging his colleagues achievements said: ‘Streamlining our services and minimising our carbon footprint is top of mind for all of us as we face into the future, therefore this ISO 50001 accreditation is a significant achievement for any local authority given the diversity of services they are required to offer, not least for County Cork, Ireland’s largest county.’
‘This accreditation, delivered ahead of time, has been achieved primarily through the focused efforts of the Energy Management Action Plan (E-Map) Team, a multi-disciplinary group led by the Environment Directorate within the County Council. This team, which was set up in 2012, has exceeded every national target set, has overseen more than 100 individual actions county-wide, all of which positively contributed to the organisation reaching its 2020 energy efficiency targets as set out under Ireland’s 3rd National Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2014-2017. In achieving ISO50001 accreditation far in advance of the target date they have demonstrated what can be achieved through teamwork, focus and dedication to a goal. As Chief Executive I am very proud of their achievements’.
The initiative was set up with the assistance of Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI) with the primary objective to develop, implement and monitor individual energy actions which will positively contribute to Cork County Council reducing its energy consumption, thereby reducing its carbon emissions.
Ireland’s National Energy Efficiency Action Plan sets the public sector a target of a 33% improvement in Energy Efficiency each year to 2020 from a 2009 baseline. At present Cork County Council is 4% ahead of this target having saved 4 million kilowatt hours (KWh) of energy to-date, the equivalent to the annual energy usage of c.330 semi-detached homes in Ireland.
The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. John Paul O’Shea mentioned how delighted he was to again witness first hand Cork County Council’s commitment to innovation. ‘This year as Mayor I have had the honour of cutting the tape at many important openings and I have received international guests from China, the US and across Europe as we continually strive to ensure that our County is at the forefront of economic growth and is recognised internationally as a prime location in which to do business and also to visit as a tourist. I feel blessed to have overseen a great year for Cork County and it should be pointed out that it is the efforts behind the scenes such as this one from our Energy MAP Team in achieving ISO50001, that make our overall offering a much more attractive one. In achieving this International accreditation our County is again leading the way for local authorities across the country and I commend all involved for the great work done to date’.
Cork County Council’s Strategic Energy Action Plan highlights some of the projects undertaken that were integral in enabling Cork County Council to achieve the ISO 50001 accreditation. This plan also outlines the methods by which Cork County Council will work to continue to deliver energy savings.