Most energy use by train companies is traction, but approximately 20% is related to non-traction activities, such as heating and lighting of buildings and stations. In these guidelines, train companies are being urged to think “leaner” through energy conservation, “keener” through energy efficiency, and “greener” by using more renewable energy sources.
The rail industry has a large and complex energy consumption profile, and the guidelines encompass retrofitting of energy efficient technology across a broad spectrum of buildings, offices, workshops, storage facilities and outdoor areas such as car parks. The new guidelines encompass insulation, lighting, heating, ventilation, change of building use and encourage the development of data collection and metering strategies.
Given the variety of architecture, building type and historical significance of much of the infrastructure, strategies need to be developed station by station, line by line which will enhance opportunities for local business to compete for contracts.
The guidance cites the example of Network Rail, which updated lighting to LEDs in its Shipham office, at an initial cost of £3,000. However, the estimated savings per annum are £2,500, indicating thousands of pounds could be saved over a longer timeframe. Similarly, it advises train companies to choose the most energy efficient office equipment such as computers and photocopiers, but also to consider the energy efficiency of domestic appliances in the workplace such as staff kettles and microwaves, and to train and incentivise staff to switch electrical items and lights off properly when not in use.
On a larger scale, new electrical sub-meters were installed at Ebbsfleet and Stratford stations, connected to a data logging system, at an initial cost of £59,000. Since the data was analysed, changes have been made to time schedules for air conditioning and heating, with an estimated saving of £77,000 per year. Extrapolating from these isolated examples, it is easy to see how the RSSB can predict huge cost savings across the entire network.
The recommendations encourage the rail industry to appreciate the possibilities to generate savings and lessen the impact of excessive energy consumption on the environment. The potential to save money is substantial and many of the suggested solutions are inexpensive to implement and would pay for themselves quickly. These recommendations could see buyers searching for more innovative solutions to issues surrounding energy saving, leading to new suppliers being encouraged to apply for contracts in these areas.