Councillors back energy project

Councillors have agreed to approve Aberdeenshire Council’s participation in a European energy efficiency scheme.

As part of the Europbuild project, the council will investigate refurbishment options for public buildings to increase their energy efficiency, as well as help to develop guidance and best practice on how to implement the necessary changes required to achieve this.

The project will also encourage the use of renewable energy within buildings, while looking at finance models to ensure that the most economically feasible way of refurbishing buildings will be sought through analysis of existing methods.

Working alongside partnership agencies in the UK, Greece, Poland, Italy, Crotia, Spain and Bulgaria, Aberdeenshire Council will identify a selection of buildings within the region to be audited, benchmarked and explored for financing options to improve their energy efficiency and bring them into the category recognised as nearly zero energy buildings.

The methodology used for this process will be agreed by all partners to ensure that the technique used is transferable across all member states.

The Europbuild (Energy Upgrade Refurbishment of Public Buildings) project supports implementation of the EU’s target of increasing energy efficiency by 20% by 2020 and aims to demonstrate that an integrated approach to renewable energy and energy efficiency within buildings is necessary for both public and private sector.

Aberdeenshire Council submitted an application for funding for 75% of the total project cost to the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme in May, which is currently being considered, and a decision is expected in November.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Councillor Peter Argyle, said: “I think this is an innovative and exciting project and I’m very pleased to see Aberdeenshire Council not only supporting it, but taking a leading role.

“It is also good to see us working in partnership with other European countries.”

Vice-chair of the committee, Councillor Alan Buchan, added: “Increasing energy efficiency across public buildings is not only a commendable target, but something that will likely become a necessity for all local authorities in future years.

“It is good to see Aberdeenshire Council taking a lead in this area and I very much hope the funding bid is successful to allow this project to progress.”