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Improving Energy Efficiency – A Follow-up Report

Improving Energy Efficiency – A Follow-up ReportAudit Summary

Publication Date:
December 2010

Audit Office:
Audit Scotland

Link to full report:

Audited Entities

  • Councils
  • National Health Service (NHS) boards
  • Central government bodies

Audit Objective

  • This audit re-evaluated the performance of the public sector in improving its energy efficiency. It followed up the key recommendations from a 2008 report, and looked at how prepared public bodies are for the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.

Audit Scope

  • The audit looked at the performance of councils, NHS boards and central government bodies, and focused mainly on the improvement of energy efficiency in their buildings. It did not look at domestic energy use.

Audit Criteria

  • Not available.

Main Audit Findings

  • Between 2006/07 and 2008/09, there was little change in the public sector’s energy use, but its spending on energy increased by 21 per cent. In a time of increasing financial pressures for the public sector and predicted future rises in energy prices, reducing energy use is of key importance.
  • Scotland has ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and public bodies are adopting a more strategic approach to improving energy efficiency. However, the public sector as a whole is not yet reducing emissions at sufficient pace to set a good example or influence others, and future budget reductions may affect the level of investment available to achieve further improvement. The Scottish Government is taking action to help the public sector improve energy efficiency, but progress has been slow and the impact of this activity is not yet clear.
  • The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme has raised the profile of energy efficiency, and over half of public bodies are well prepared for involvement in it. Reducing energy use will help public bodies reduce the costs associated with the scheme.

Audit Recommendations

The Scottish Government should:

  • ensure efforts and investment for improving energy efficiency are targeted where the greatest reductions in energy use and emissions can be made for the whole public sector;
  • take the opportunity when reviewing its Energy Efficiency Action Plan to ensure the actions relevant to the public sector are robust enough to achieve the pace of change required;
  • ensure its sustainability reporting framework provides consistent information on energy performance across the public sector; and
  • build the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme into its internal audit arrangements, to provide assurance in addition to the five-yearly external audit by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Public bodies should:

  • strengthen the contribution they make to reducing emissions and increase the pace of change;
  • work with the Scottish Government to implement the actions relevant to the public sector in the Energy Efficiency Action Plan, and report progress to senior management;
  • ensure they have systems in place to collect accurate data on transport use and resulting CO2 emissions;
  • build energy efficiency considerations into asset management and estate rationalisation decisions, involving energy officers or teams wherever possible; and
  • build the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme into their internal audit arrangements, to provide assurance in addition to the five-yearly external audit by SEPA.