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Doing the right thing for the environment

Carbon footprint

Our carbon footprint for 2012/13, the most recently reported year, continued to show a downward trend in carbon emissions with a decrease of nearly 5%, or over 22,000 tonnes of CO2 (tCO2) equivalent, compared to 2011/12. This was due to reduced process emissions, chemicals purchased and increased Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) accreditation of renewable energy.

Renewable energy

In providing essential services to customers, Scottish Water is one of Scotland’s largest users of electricity, consuming around 450 Gigawatt hours (GWh) per year. We have a 4-pronged approach to energy management and development:

  1. Reducing consumption by improving capability of assets and operations;
  2. Increasing and maximising self-generation where there is a good return for customers: deploying innovation and technologies that maximise value from our asset base;
  3. Hosting private renewable energy investment on our land; and
  4. Optimising our energy purchasing strategy to maximise benefit for customers in terms of price risk mitigation against rising energy costs.
  5. We currently generate over 28GWh and in the last year our own renewable portfolio has increased and diversified to include hydro, wind, solar and combined heat and power (CHP).

Waste water

Scottish Water has a responsibility to ensure that waste water from homes and businesses is treated to the highest standard before being returned safely to the environment. The drier summer of 2013 saw reduced run-off from land. This, along with our work to manage waste waters through the effective operation of our sewers and treatment works, enabled all of Scotland’s bathing waters to achieve full compliance. More than half met the highest standards under the EU Bathing Waters directive, as reported by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

With a continued focus on ensuring our waste water operations achieve the best possible performance, we saw a 20% reduction in the number of environmental pollution incidents.

Water efficiency

Our Water Efficiency Plan details the key activities we undertake to help improve the security of a sustainable water supply for our customers now and future generations. We remain committed to working to reduce the volume of leakage across our network.

Our website features an interactive online water use calculator, while we also have a range of water efficiency films that provide advice on how to use water wisely in the kitchen, bathroom and garden.

We are undertaking a Water Efficiency Trial which aims to understand how customer consumption behaviour in Scotland responds to a range of water efficiency measures and to assess the relative cost/benefit of each of these measures and gather robust evidence which may be used to inform future direction and policy appropriate to Scotland.

We continue to work with key stakeholders, developers and policy makers to help them understand and promote the importance of more water efficient practice.

Through our work with the Scottish Government’s Building Standards Division a mandatory water efficiency standard was introduced in October 2013. This means in future that all new buildings in Scotland will include a basic level of water efficiency. Those building to the Silver and Gold standards will be required to install more advanced water efficiency measures.