The finding comes from the State of the Estate report, which looks at the cost and impact on the environment of Welsh Government occupied office buildings.
The Welsh Government’s Location Strategy for 2010-15 aims to focus on fewer, larger, more energy efficient offices to reduce the size of the estate, improve utilisation of buildings and energy performance.
The report found in 2011-12:
- Carbon emissions reduced by 15 per cent – or 1,770 tonnes – to 10,374 tonnes;
- Gas usage down by 15 per cent – or 1,497,692 kWh – to 8,626,632 kWh and electricity down by 14 per cent – or 2,730,858 kWh – to 16,256,179 kWh;
- The administrative estate fell by 5.58 per cent - or eight offices - to 41 across Wales;
- Occupancy costs reduced by 5.3 per cent, producing annual savings of more than £973,000; and,
- The amount of paper used fell by 41 per cent to 100 tonnes.
The first published Welsh Government State of the Estate report established a baseline date of 31 March 2008, against which performance can be benchmarked. Compared to the baseline figures, the latest report shows the number of offices on the estate has reduced from 76 to 41, with an associated running cost reduction of £2.48m – or 12.4 per cent. This represents a positive performance, especially when set against increases in the VAT rate, utility costs and other inflationary pressures.
Jane Hutt said:
“We are committed to maintaining our presence across Wales. Through our use of more efficient offices, we have been able to dispose of older, inefficient buildings, reducing our carbon footprint, saving money and improving the working environment for staff.
”We have taken the opportunity to use break points in leases, particularly in Cardiff and south Wales, and moved staff to other existing offices.
“In addition, we are encouraging the increasing use of video-conferencing, reducing travel and reducing use of paper through electronic management of records and fewer publications being printed. Our actions demonstrate that what is good for the environment is also good for our finances. While there have been significant improvements, we are determined to build on these as we continue to work to reduce our impact on the environment.”
Permanent Secretary Derek Jones CB added:
“This report recognises the major improvements in our management of our estate and the role that staff have played, resulting in significant savings, whilst maintain a presence and access to services across Wales.
“We are committed to sustainable development and our aim is to be one of the best performing public sector organisations in the UK. This report demonstrates that we are on the right track to achieving this.”