Scottish Civil Estate: efficiency and sustainability report 2018 to 2019
Scottish Ministers are required to lay before the Scottish Parliament this annual report which uses key performance indicators to assess progress in improving the efficiency and sustainability of the Scottish Civil Estate.
4. Efficiency and Sustainability 2018-19
The basis of the full time equivalent count has been revised from 2014-15 onwards which will affect comparisons with previous year's data.
4.1 Property Costs of the OfficeEstate
Total Estate Cost includes rent, rates and a wide range of other costs of occupation including repairs and maintenance, service charge, water and sewerage, security and cleaning. The increase in cost per FTE from 2011-12 to 2014-15 was as a result of a combination of factors. It reflected the increasing cost of accommodation at that time, through increases in rent as the property market improved together with uplift in the cost of utilities. It was also affected by the time lag between accommodation being vacated by staff and being disposed of from the estate.
As space reduced there was a significant fall in total cost per FTE between 2014-15 and 2016-17, which is a reflection of the reduction in floor space retained overall. The increases in total costs in 2017-18 and 2018-19 reflects investment in refurbishing and modernising current offices, continuing the Smarter Workplaces Programme which has delivered a reduced area per FTE and per workstation.
4.2 Property Costs on the Combined Office and Non-Office Specialist Estate
Because of their specialist nature, buildings like the SASA (Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture) headquarters, at Gogarburn, Edinburgh and the Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen have specific space, heating and water consumption characteristics so they are separated out from the administrative office estate. This separation enables the office estate to be benchmarked against similar offices using public and private sector comparators.
The commissioning of the Marine Aquarium in Aberdeen resulted in a significant increase in water consumption between 2011 and 2012. This is sufficient to influence the water consumption KPI for the whole sample, and the resumption in the use of freshwater for some activities has resulted in a slight uplift in the KPI.
One of the factors affecting the total estate cost is rental levels. Property managers in the civil estate negotiate robustly with landlords at rent review, but some managers are faced with a lease that has either upwards only reviews of rent, or is increased in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI), or some other index, all of which preclude the ability to make reductions. As the market for offices is reinvigorated, demand has risen and the supply of vacant space fallen, so asset managers, including those in the public sector, are increasingly working in an environment of declining incentives and rising rents.
4.3 Use of Occupied Space
The part of the Scottish Civil Estate occupied by the core Scottish Government has a programme of smarter working to improve the estate. The space held was to be reduced by at least 30,000 m² by March 2016, a proposed reduction of 25%. Cash savings of at least £5.5m per annum, or 25%, were targeted for the same period. By the end of December 2016 the full 25% target was met both for space and cost reductions.
The continuing Smarter Workplaces Programme targets financial and carbon savings from its estate, together with the introduction of 'smart working' practices for its workforce and spans all SG core and public bodies. Closing its first phase in March 2018, the Programme has reported efficiency gains of £29.1m per annum, and carbon savings of over 2,500 tonnes per annum, principally through reducing the number of offices occupied; using space more efficiently and encouraging sharing between organisations. This programme includes driving efficiencies across the wider public sector estate.
The strategy since 2011 is to actively work towards 10 m² per FTE for existing space and 8 m² per FTE for substantially refurbished or newly built office space, where this is operationally appropriate. In addition, where new ways of working are being rolled out in refurbished space, for example at Atlantic Quay, Glasgow and Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, a 'desk to FTE' ratio of 8:10 is adopted where suitable. This has resulted in a continued downward trend in area per FTE and area per workstation.
The Smarter Workplaces Programme has been challenged this year as Scottish Government increases its delivery and planning in establishing devolved powers with a growing workforce, principally in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Adopting smarter working principles, such as sharing of desks and a transition towards more informal meeting spaces, has helped over the last year to manage an increase in the number of staff allocated to key buildings, for example, in Victoria Quay, Edinburgh where capacity has been increasing from 2,000 to 3,000 FTE.
4.4 Waste Recycling
Due to sustained effort by facility managers and their contractors within the Scottish Government and its agencies, the percentage of waste recycled increased from 64% (2011-12) to 94% (2013- 14). This increase was due to the rise in segregation of recyclable material at source and further extraction of recyclable material at Materials Recovery Facilities that would have formerly been sent to landfill.
The overall recycling rate decreased slightly in 2016-17. This was the result of the general waste stream from the majority of buildings going directly to incineration with energy recovery, rather than being hand separated in a Materials Recovery Facility for recycling and landfill with energy recovery. Furthermore, food waste is now being sent for anaerobic digestion, an organic type of waste disposal with energy recovery.
An adjustment was made in 2017-18 to bring reporting on waste and recycling fully in line with Scottish Government policy. In order to properly capture the use of anaerobic digestion for organic waste, anaerobic digestion is now being treated as a relative of composting, rather than waste to energy. This means that anaerobic digestion is now included in the recycling rate calculation.
Other types of energy recovery from waste involve incineration which is considered as landfill avoidance, but not recycling.
Scottish Government have eliminated all disposable paper cups from our staff restaurants and instead offer ceramic mugs for staff buying tea or coffee who are sitting in, and reusable mugs for visitors who are attending meetings. Scottish Government began selling a variety of reusable cups in our staff restaurants in 2015 which to date has saved over 300,000 paper cups from going to waste.
This year has seen an overall decrease in percentage of waste recycled from 84% to 78% in offices only, and 87% to 83% in office and specialist buildings. Small and rural Scottish Government buildings have contributed to the overall decrease in percentage of waste recycled. The way waste is disposed of from these buildings reflects provision of waste services available by the local authority and, this year, landfilling of general waste has increased. Due to the size of these buildings and the relatively small amounts of waste produced, any change to the way waste is disposed of can have a significant effect on the figures.
4.5 Water Consumption
Over recent years improvements in technology have enabled more accurate reporting based on actual water consumption. During 2010-2011 reported water consumption, which was based upon less frequent meter readings and Rateable Value-based estimates, produced a figure of 7.2 m³ per FTE. With proper measurement, enabled by the roll-out of Automatic Meter Readings, the figure for 2013-14 was shown to be 11.2 m³ per FTE. Usage has fluctuated slightly over the years and is now 9 m³ per FTE for 2018-19. The higher level of water consumption in the combined 'Offices and Specialist' buildings category is heavily influenced by the programme of experimentation at the Marine Laboratory where the focus is either on sea water-based, or fresh water-based activities. When the business needs of Marine Scotland require a switch to fresh water, this figure increases.
4.6 Energy Consumption
2018-19 shows an increase in energy consumption from 250 kWh to 273 kWh per m2 in offices, which is a result of more staff occupying less space. The overall energy consumption per FTE however, continues to decrease.
The Scottish Government's Carbon Management Plan details how carbon emissions can be reduced across the core estate. The Plan includes a register of energy efficiency projects that, when implemented, will reduce emissions.
In 2018-19, the following energy efficiency projects were completed:
- Solar panels were installed at Victoria Quay, St Andrews House and SASA.
- LED lighting upgrades across the estate.
- Building Management System upgrades rolled out across the estate.
- Hot water heater upgrades from electric to gas fired at Saughton House.
- Freshwater Laboratory, Faskally - replacement of the oil fired boilers with a new biomass boiler.
In 2019-20, the following energy efficiency projects are being implemented across the Scottish Government's core estate:
- LED lighting upgrade at Victoria Quay and Saughton House.
- Building Management System upgrade at Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen.
- Feasibility studies carried out for heat pumps at various sites.
- Thermal image surveys carried out across the estate.
- Day/night lighting control for St Andrews House car park lights.
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