By Claire West

The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has called on departments and contractors to work together to cut Central Government carbon emissions by 10 per cent so that the Government becomes the greenest ever.

At a meeting today Francis Maude and Greg Barker, the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, urged UK's leading facilities management companies to work under the terms of a new Energy Efficiency Code. This meeting followed the Prime Minister’s pledge on 14 May to cut central Government carbon emissions by 10 per cent in one year to help protect the environment and save money.

The event was attended by senior representatives from major contractors which maintain Government buildings. These companies also outlined how they can share best practice on saving energy use and what can be achieved in pursuit of this goal.

The Government’s new Energy Efficiency Code states that all departments should:

work with facilities management contractors to prepare plans to cut carbon by ten per cent by May 2011;

give serious consideration to private sector ideas to cut carbon emissions; and

agree to explore agreements, possibly through changes to existing contracts, which benefit government departments and private companies in their pursuit of reducing carbon emissions.

In response, contractors are asked to share their expertise with public bodies and actively identify opportunities to reduce energy emissions.

Francis Maude said:

“In this fiscal crisis, it is essential that we take radical steps to increase efficiency and reduce energy use. This saves money and helps to cut the deficit, but it also helps to protect our environment. The public sector as a whole is responsible for three per cent of UK carbon emissions and spends more than £2.5 billion on energy every year, so there is a huge potential to make a real difference.

“This Government is determined to tackle waste wherever it exists, and that includes energy use. To achieve results central Government departments need to work with contractors to identify waste and share best practice.

“Central to the drive for greater efficiency is transparency. If people can see how much energy departments are using then government’s energy use is under more scrutiny. In achieving this goal I want to harness the experience and innovation of the private sector so that we can share practical solutions to saving energy.”

Greg Barker, Minister for Energy and Climate Change, said:

“As the Prime Minister announced when he took office, we are determined to make this the greenest government ever. The coalition is leading by example with our pledge to reduce carbon emissions from government buildings by 10 per cent this year. Civil servants and building managers will need to work closely together to cut carbon and reduce waste.”

To help forge a close working relationship between civil servants and building managers the Office of Government Commerce’s Centre of Expertise in Sustainable Procurement has been bringing together the best of private sector practice in saving energy and encouraging Government departments to emulate their successes. In addition, to encourage better energy use the Office of Government Commerce has produced new guidance for Government departments and facilities management suppliers.