Case Study – Bus Eireann

Subject Areas: Lighting, Water, Waste, Insulation, Pollution Prevention

Sector: Transport


The Ferrybank Garage of Bus Eireann maintains a fleet of ninety locally based buses, and supports a further forty which terminate their routes at Waterford City. In addition to mechanical maintenance and repairs, this includes daily washing and cleaning of each vehicle.

Garage manager Eddie Hannon (seen with his team above) is behind an extensive and ongoing programme to reduce energy, water and waste costs throughout the facility and hence improve environmental performance.


The main lights in the garage were near the end of their practical life, and instead of just replacing them like-for-like, we took some time to investigate our options. In the end we decided to go for long-life Induction High Bay lighting fixtures. These cost €12,000 to install, but give an annual saving on our electricity bill of €7,600. So they will pay for themselves in under two years.

As a further refinement we are fitting a motion detector and light sensor to each unit, so that it will only light when it is actually needed. This will give further savings. Our choice of induction lighting made this possible, as other types of high bay lighting are unsuitable for this type of lighting control due to their ‘warm-up’ time.

We also replaced our old inspection lamps with 24V rechargeable LED lamps. The old lamps were on mains leads, prone to damage and a potential safely hazard. We were spending €2,500 per year on replacement lamps and cables. The new lamps cost a total of only €840, are handier to use, more energy-efficient, and not prone to damage.

We then replaced our yard lights with energy efficient alternatives, to complete the package.


As part of our EcoCert certification we needed to look at our water usage and carry out a leak test. To cut a long story short, we found a variety of leaks spread over the site, and repairing these saved us €8,500 per year in water charges.

We are about to fit flush controls to the urinals in both gent’s toilets. This is anticipated to yield a further €3,000 a year in water savings.

The bus wash is a major user of water, and we are now planning to filter and re-use the water for this. We are also seriously looking at rainwater harvesting to further reduce the cost of operating the bus wash.

Waste Disposal

We have taken measures to improve the level of recycling at the garage, and to avoid hazardous waste, such as oily rags, going to landfill.

Insulation & Heating

The main garage building required extensive renovation, and we took the opportunity to re-roof it with insulated panelling, and likewise the old metal wall panels. The roller-shutter doors have been replaced which makes the whole area much more comfortable to work in, and easier to heat.

Pollution Prevention

As part of our environmental improvements we looked at pollution prevention. Being an old site, there was great scope to reduce our pollution risks. Our biggest investment will be to install a new underground drainage system, with separators to catch any spilled oil. We have already created a new bunded store and put bunds under all our oil and chemicals storage drums.

Revolution Bar is a bar business that also serves food. It was extended and renovated in June 2009

During that time we looked at the performance of lighting, Water usage, equipment performance & waste segregation

Firstly we looked at Electricity & Gas– always look at your bills and the price you are paying –

You can save up to 14% by just changing supplier! For me that was nearly €4,000 a year


We installed 170 ecoled LED fittings with a saving of up to 80% over traditional down lighters

Our initial lighting bill with down lighters alone was nearly €5,000 per year

Our new LED system cost €4,000 per year less to run

We spent €20,000 on the installation of new LED fittings

We also looked at LED because the “bulb” will last up to 8 years –

We were replacing standard bulbs at a rate of 2 per fitting per year

At €3.50 per bulb, that’s a saving of €9,520 – and also saving the environment from disposing of the bulbs

All energy saving fittings listed with Sustainable Energy Ireland allows companies to write off 100% of

the purchase value of qualifying energy efficient equipment against their profit in the year of purchase.

Lighting is controlled by a “Sunlite Stick”

Peter Fitzgerald of Cross Lane Digital programmed “The Stick” for us –

We now have no light switches anywhere – all our lighting is programmed to come on at 9am in Cleaning Mode

At opening time lights adjust themselves to a nice ambient light – they dim at 7pm for night time mode –

And turn themselves off at closing time

We don’t even think about lighting control anymore – its automatic

Coupled with this – we always had lights left on in Staff Rooms, Stores, Cold Rooms, Corridors –

These are now controlled by PIR with means the lights are only on when there is someone in the room.


We had 3 x 5year old glass washers, starting to give a little maintenance trouble

We looked at buying top of the range Winterhalter Glasswashers

The new machines operate with 60% less water – so 60% less electricity to keep the water hot –

Our new machines cost €2,600 each and we are looking at a payback in savings of 2-3 years

We had 2 x 10 grid combi ovens which we usually less than ½ full when in use –

We traded these in for 2 x 6 grid ovens with a 30% saving in running costs

We used traditional 3kw Panini toasters for sandwiches & Panini products –

This was operational 14 hours a day –

We now use a merry chef oven – which is more versatile but uses 40% less power

Because the door is closed when not in use and uses very little power


Water in toilets was 55% of our usage. This was out main focus.

During renovation we replaced 14 toilet cisterns– traditionally of 8-10 litre capacity per cistern

On advise from PJ Mullane Plumbing supplies, he sourced us a 6 litre cistern saving up to 4 litres per flush

· Bar with 14 Toilets each with a 10litre flush –

· Average use per day Sunday –Thursday is 10 x 14 flushes = 140

· Average use per day Friday –Saturday is 50 x 14 flushes = 700

· Total Flushes = 840 per week = 43,680 flushes per year x 10 litres =436,800 litres of Water

· By installing new cisterns(or using buffalos for displacement) we saved 174,720 Litres of Water !

· This equals 174 cublic metres a year x €2.35 = €408

Liam Power Electrical advised we put a PIR sensor on our Urinals which we flushing 15 litres of Water every 15 minutes,

24 hours a day – we reduced our Water bill on 2 urinals by approx 70%

· 2 x Urinal x 15 litres x 4 flushes per hour x 24 hours per day = 1051 cubic metres per year

· New PIR system installed at cost of €350 saved 657 cubic metres @ €2.35 =a saving of €1544 per year

Total savings in Toilets alone was nearly €2,000 per year

Added to that we put push button taps in all bars, kitchen, wash-up and toilets – so taps cannot be left on

New Glasswasher x 3 which use less than ½ the water of our 5 year old ones

We also monitor leaks from cisterns – daily


Housekeeping in the Kitchen

In the kitchen – cooking and preparation is a significant energy user. Good Housekeeping can reduce this by up to 25%

We worked with our chefs, making them aware of the running cost of each piece of equipment.

We agreed that

We will not turn on all equipment in the kitchen on arrival in the morning

Some equipment only need 10 mins to heat up – so only turn them on 15 mins prior to service

Cut idle time – turn off equipment when we are not busy

Turning off one fryer during quiet time can save 50% of operating costs

“Crystal Clear” approached us on cleaning our Canopy – this yearly deep clean can save up to 20% on motor running costs

Turning the variable control on the extract unit during quiet times can save up to 50% on motor running costs

Keeping lids on pots reduce energy use by up to 40%

Don’t unnecessarily open oven doors – you’re simply letting money escape!

Fridges, Freezers , Coldrooms

In a bar & Restaurant – these are big energy users

At Revolution all our motors are external –

Imagine running a fridge motor in a warm bar – it takes it twice as long to cool down –

So the motor is constantly running –

Place the motor on an outside wall or on a roof and you will cut 50% off running costs

Make sure all door seals are clean and proper fitting

If you have a cold room – install a PVC Curtin to save 20% on running costs

Waste Disposal

We looked at our waste bill – firstly we met with our waste contractor –

He gave us a lot of concessions – our waste bill is down 30% and we are helping the enviroment

· We got free bin rental

· Free collection of cardboard, plastic, cans, newsprint, office paper

· We segregated as much waste as we could – kitchen waste counts to 220 litres a week –

· In general waste this would cost €60 a week to dispose of – as compost waste its €14

· We leased a glass crusher to minimize out glass volumes – so now we are returning 80% less glass bins

· Our Kitchen decants deliveries as they arrive and returns all boxes to the supplier


A big thanks to Phil Walker of Ecocert – he opened my eyes to the possible savings

He came and did an initial inspection and pointed me in the right direction to save money.

He showed me the benefit of putting all my electricity, gas, water & waste bills on a spead sheet and looking at them over a year –

Then implementing changes to save money and watch the bills go down –

We are looking to the future in making more and more changes as technology improves –

Our next investment will probably upgrading our air conditioning sysyems – replacing 6 outdoor units with one that works on glycol (a type of antifreeze)

But Phil is always there with advice, to bounce idea off and to make sure am not strating from the EcoCert path

Prepared by Jim “Flash” Gordon or Revolution Gastro Bar & Escape Niteclub