Scotland's hospitals, schools and local authorities could cut their carbon footprint by more than one-quarter by 2030, according to the Carbon Trust
In a report commissioned by the devolved government, the trust analysed existing public sector abatement projects and concluded that, if implemented across the whole sector, CO2 emissions could be cut by 688,000 tonnes (tCO2) annually.
Changing behaviours, improving building fabric and installing renewable technologies and more efficient heating and air conditioning systems will provide the biggest savings, says the trust.
The sector could save more than 200,000 tCO2 each year through behaviour change projects, for example. Another 130,000 tCO2 could be saved by improving heating systems and 48,000 tCO2 by investing in more energy-efficient IT equipment.
Around half of all the potential annual carbon reductions would be from local authorities (344,000 tCO2), which account for 62% of the sector’s total emissions, while higher education facilities and the NHS in Scotland have the potential to save 158,000 tCO2 and 123,000 tCO2 respectively.
The trust warns, however, that there are cultural and financial barriers to the deployment of carbon-cutting measures across Scotland’s public services.
These include a failure to incentivise senior managers to make saving carbon a priority, and to drive the purchase of energy efficient goods through procurement processes.