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Carbon and energy consumption: sustainable procurement guidance

Guidance for public bodies covering the purchase of supplies and services that may be vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Carbon and energy consumption: sustainable procurement guidance

Carbon and energy consumption

This guidance is concerned with the procurement of energy-using equipment (e.g. ICT, laboratory equipment, white goods, audio-visual and others) or the use of energy in the delivery of a service that is being procured (e.g. FM, printing, professional services). 

It is part of a series of guides which support the sustainable procurement duty tools to help public sector organisations embed sustainability into their procurement processes.

Description of risk or opportunity

  • will the product or service procured routinely involve consumption of energy (electricity, gas or other fuel)?
  • is there an opportunity to minimise energy consumption?

An example would be electrical equipment purchased or used in service delivery.

The majority of contracts involving energy consumption will be concerned with electricity use, although other forms of energy may be relevant in a minority of cases, such as gas, oil, biomass, or other.

As well as the fundamental power consumption during active use, there will be other issues to take into consideration in assessing the lifecycle impact of equipment and services, for instance power levels in ‘standby mode’ and user behaviour.

The Energy Using Products Directive has been replaced by the Eco Design Directive which requires manufacturers to take into account all the environmental impacts of a product right from the earliest stage of design. 

The Eco Design Directive provides a coherent and integrated framework which allows setting mandatory eco-design requirements for a range of products. For instance, the Eco design regulation on standby requires that many domestic electrical and electronic products such as washing machines, television or personal computers do not consume more than 0.5W in off mode as of 2013.

To mitigate risks and maximise opportunities a buyer should consider how the requirement is framed and assess the possible solutions. Decisions at the design stage of the product or service need will significantly influence potential outcomes.

This guidance is provided to support the embedding of relevant and proportionate contract/framework requirements and the information and examples are provided in good faith. To the extent that this guidance contains any information concerning procurement law such information does not constitute advice to you.

The contents of this guidance is not to be construed as legal advice or a substitute for such advice, which you should obtain from your own legal advisers if required. Scottish Government is not and shall not be held responsible for anything done or not done by you as a result of this guidance.