Saving money

Changes made to the cooling system in Fenland District Council’s computer server room are expected to cut the council’s electricity bill by £5,000 a year.

They are part of a wider programme that aims to reduce FDC’s costs from energy use by £120,000 between 2012 and 2015.

The resulting savings are being reinvested into further energy-cutting projects that will pay for themselves in less than five years.

The increased use of computers over the past few years has pushed up energy bills for many businesses because of the cost involved in keeping equipment cool. For the council, this has meant running the air-conditioning in the server room constantly to keep it at the right temperature.

By rearranging the room into rows and blowing fresh air from outside onto the computer equipment the air conditioning is no longer needed 24/7.

Councillor John Clark, FDC portfolio holder responsible for finance and quality organisation, said:

“We are always looking for new ways to cut costs and these comparatively simple changes will make a big difference.

“They go hand in hand with a range of other improvements, including the introduction of more energy-efficient lighting, remote PC turn-off and increased insulation.”

Since launching the 2012-15 plan the council has already saved more than £64,000 on energy alone which would have otherwise been needed.

To finance the improvements the council has taken advantage of “invest to save” loans provided by Salix Finance, a funding scheme for the public sector. Repayments are made from the money saved on energy bills; once the loans are repaid, the council continues to benefit from the efficiencies.