Westminster water scheme could save £400K

Westminster City Council buildings will be fitted with devices to cut water usage by 20% and save thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money.

Many of the council’s 147 buildings, including its City Hall, schools and libraries, have already been surveyed and equipped with infrared sensors on sinks and urinals, restricted-flow showers and water-saving Hippo bags in toilets.

The improvements, which should be complete by the end of the year, are expected to save up to £400,000 over the next five years. The council currently spends £550,000 on water each year.

ADSM (Advanced Demand Site Management), the company carrying out the scheme, will only be paid for its work if it succeeds in reducing the council’s water bill.

It pays for the audit service and water-saving equipment up front, and will be paid 50% of the money saved by the council. A percentage of this is donated to the charity WaterAid.

David Haygarth, the council’s corporate energy manager, told edie: “They take all the risk.

“From a local authority perspective, there hasn’t been any statutory duty to actually go out and do work, which is what we need to spend money on it. This particular scenario meant we could get work underway.”

The company was chosen through the Office of Government Commerce, which pre-approves tenders from companies wanting to supply the public sector and avoids the need for individual tender processes with local authorities.

The water-saving scheme is part of a wider strategy to reduce the council’s use of resources and carbon emissions and data gathered by the audits will be used in other green schemes.

Following his appointment in June, new council leader Councillor Colin Barrow announced he wanted to make the council carbon neutral by 2012, drastically upping the previous target of reducing emissions by 10% by the same date.

Mr Haygarth told edie: “We are now thinking in that direction, because the statement is that bold, rather than just saying we will save 10%. Everyone is looking at the bigger picture.”

Kate Martin

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