Q: How much does it cost to change a lightbulb in Stirling? A: £10 million. But local cooncil will save three times that by fitting green LEDs

Stirling castle
Stirling castle

Stirling Council is borrowing £9.87 million from the Green Investment Bank and will install light-emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of traditional sodium lightbulbs in 12,000 streetlights over four financial years.

The council will also replace 4,000 of the columns (or lampposts), marking a major investment in infrastructure for the county.

Stirling is expected to cut its streetlight power consumption by 63% and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 14,400 tonnes over the lifetime of the project.  The energy saved each year would be equivalent to the total electricity consumed by more than 850 homes.

The Scottish Government has recently designated energy efficiency as an infrastructure investment priority.

Law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn advised the UK Green Investment Bank in relation to its latest Green Loan to help Stirling Council save £31 million over the next 30 years by installing energy saving streetlights.

GIB launched its Green Loan for local councils to help them reduce their streetlight electricity bills by up to 80%.  The Green Loan offers UK local authorities a low, fixed-rate financial arrangement over a period of up to 30 years. It has been specifically designed to finance public sector energy efficiency projects where repayments are less than the savings realised.

The UK currently spends about £300 million a year powering its seven million streetlights, with fewer than one million lamps so far using low-energy LEDs.

Stirling is following in the footsteps of local authorities in Glasgow and Southend-on-Sea, making it the second council in Scotland and the third in the UK to take out a GIB Green Loan to replace its inefficient and costly old street lamps with modern, energy efficient models.

Iain Watson, Director, Energy Efficiency, GIB, said: “Shepherd and Wedderburn has played a key role in helping us highlight to local authorities the financial and environmental benefits of switching to LED lighting. As well as providing expert legal advice on our Green Loans, its team of specialists worked with us to standardise the process, making it a cost and time effective exercise for councils and GIB.”

Robert Steenson, Stirling Council’s Director of Housing and Environment, commented: “The council modelled the cost-savings of the project using a streetlighting toolkit developed by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), the company setup by the Scottish Government in 2008 to help ensure value-for-money in public sector spending.”

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s Finance and Restructuring team has been involved in all three Green Loan projects signed to date. The firm worked closely with GIB to standardise the Green Loan investment process to save the public sector time and money in agreeing a financing package for energy efficiency projects.

It advised GIB in connection with the first Scottish Green Loan pathfinder project with Glasgow City Council in February 2015 and six months later it acted for GIB on the first English Green Loan pathfinder project with Southend council. 

Clare Foster, Head of Clean Energy at Shepherd and Wedderburn,, commented: “The ‘spend to save’ model, a key component of the Green Loan, is rapidly gaining recognition as a powerful tool in helping local authorities throughout the UK transition to a low carbon economy.”

** ‘Cooncil’ is the Scots language word for ‘council’ and is not pejorative:

 Dictionar o’ the Scots Leid  / Dictionary of the Scots Language – http://goo.gl/7xo5Bk

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