Prisons with oil-based heating are a key target for green energy projects, says MoJ


The Ministry of Justice is “seeking expert advice” on how it can achieve a ‘net zero’ target for its property portfolio – mainly prisons and court buildings – MPs on the Environmental Audit Commitee heard today (4 September).

Carl von Reibnitz, Sustainability Director at the Ministry of Justice, told the MPs that prison emissions represent 75% of the ministry’s energy-related carbon emissions.

The portfolio includes one prison – Risley – that is heated using coal. There are 12-14 more that are heated using oil. But von Reibnitz said these prisons “are a specific focus for us” and they also represented an opportunity for low-carbon heat networks or other solutions, because they are off the gas network.

The department has assessed prisons into ‘good, typical and poor’ carbon emission categories so estate managers can benchmark their performance. It already has nine projects in the pipeline that will use low carbon heating funded by the Renewable Heat Incentive, and two awaiting CHP qualification. It is also working on ‘high level’ proposals for a pilot project that  would reduce carbon emissions at a cluster of three prisons by 80% by 2032.

Meanwhile, it is pursuing ad hoc changes including switching to LED lighting, reducing water leaks, and making buiding fabric changes such as more efficient windows.



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