The future of libraries is looking even brighter as the lighting in five of the West Sussex buildings has been given a new lease of life, in a bid to be more energy efficient.
The County Council is working to reduce its energy costs and impact on the environment through a rolling programme of energy efficiency work at its corporate buildings.
Under the latest phase, low-energy LED lighting has been fitted in public and back office areas at Horsham, Hassocks, Rustington, Storrington and East Preston libraries.
The new fittings and bulbs will improve lighting for library users and staff, reduce annual energy consumption by more than 48,000 KWh and cut carbon emissions by 21 tonnes per year – contributing towards the County Council’s 2025 50% carbon reduction target.
The work will also save an estimated £6,000 off the authority’s annual energy bill. With LED lighting requiring significantly less ongoing maintenance, these improvements are also expected to make savings to the County Council’s maintenance budget.
The library improvements form part of the authority’s long-term commitment to reducing its energy consumption, increasing energy efficiency and generating renewable energy which is set out in the West Sussex Energy Strategy.
This year, solar panels will be installed at 50 schools (under a £3 million programme agreed by councillors in March) and further LED lighting upgrades will be carried out on a number of buildings, including County Hall, Chichester. The County Council’s second solar farm will also come on stream, by the end of 2017, generating clean energy for the grid and for use in WSCC buildings.
The County Council’s energy projects are project managed by Your Energy Sussex, the WSCC-led council energy partnership, and delivered by local contractors, which provides a boost to the local economy, jobs and skills.
Cllr Deborah Urquhart, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “I am delighted that the County Council continues to lead by example on energy efficiency and renewable energy. The lighting projects show how, by investing a little up-front, we are able to improve the buildings that our residents use. while saving energy and reducing costs. The fact that the projects pay for themselves over time, and support local businesses to thrive, is a real bonus.”
The West Sussex Energy Strategy, agreed by County Councillors in 2016, sets out the key actions which need to take place to build secure, affordable and sustainable energy for the county. This includes ensuring energy is used more efficiently, throughout the council, as well as by businesses and residents.