East Coast Train operator awarded highest standard for carbon reduction

train station
train station

East Coast has won a prestigious award for its progress in reducing energy usage at its stations, depots and offices.

The train operator has been awarded the Gold Carbon Saver Standard as part of the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme by Carbon Saver, an independent organisation which works with firms to save energy and contribute towards Britain’s carbon reduction commitment (CRC).

The Environment Agency has approved the Carbon Saver Standard as a robust and independent assessment of carbon efficiency, and have considered as an ‘Early Action Metric’, a measure of how well organisations have adapted their business to ‘low carbon’ operation.

A network of East Coast ‘environment champions’ has been set up at the stations it manages, depots and offices. The environment champions have direct responsibility for identifying areas where energy use could be reduced and savings delivered.

One of the most successful locations has been East Coast’s Clayhills depot in Aberdeen, which has reduced its electricity use year-on-year by 22% thanks to the introduction of more energy-efficient gas boilers, better management of ‘shore’ supplies (used to provide power to trains in depots) and the use of sensors to turn off lights when not in use.

Measures introduced at Durham station have achieved an impressive 30 per cent year-on-year saving in energy consumption. Electricity use fell by 7% over the same period after East Coast’s environment champions switched off water boilers when not in use. Low energy lighting reduced power consumption in the travel centre and waiting rooms, while better fault reporting of car park lighting sensors ensured lights were all switched off during daytime hours.

An 8% energy saving was also achieved at East Coast House, the company’s headquarters in York, by reducing use of air conditioning in the evening, launching software to power down computers at night, and more efficient maintenance of heating and cooling systems.

East Coast Environment Manager Jim Harbidge said: “The award of Gold Standard by Carbon Saver followed visits to each of our managed locations by assessors who looked for evidence of how we are saving energy and encouraging our people to get involved.

“The Gold Standard recognises the great progress made at East Coast towards greater energy efficiency – but this is just the beginning. We’ve set ourselves a target to reduce energy use by a further 5% this year, supported by a network of environment champions based at each depot, station and office building managed by East Coast.”

East Coast currently uses energy worth around £1.75 million each year. As well as reducing its power bill, the company hopes to play its part in meeting Britain’s carbon reduction commitment.