By Vikki Slade, Associate Director of Sustainability
On 24 March, Cratus launched our Decarbonising Energy series of webinars by starting at home. This episode, Reducing Demand, Home by Home, showcased several councils who have led the way in retrofitting homes and creating district energy networks to help households on the road to net-zero.
By making the most of grant funding and innovative partnerships with public, private and third sector bodies, these authorities have clear roadmaps to help their communities save both carbon and money. There was a clear recognition that these are whole community projects, with Edwina Hannaford of Cornwall Council noting that the council itself was responsible for only 1.5% of their county’s emissions.
In Bristol, carbon mapping reflected that 40% of the city’s carbon impact was directly related to the demand for heat. Resultantly, the council was able to increase efforts in reducing this demand.
In Leeds, the installation of heat pumps and low-carbon solutions in public buildings led to a normalisation of these technologies, driving change on a micro-level.
In addition to council representatives, we were also joined by partners from the social housing sector and organisations who work with councils to achieve their net-zero goals.
The breadth of experience, from rural to urban, demonstrated that one size does not fit all. All of our panellists did, however, agree that there can be no further delay in implementing change and that further legislation to support planning policies already put in place by local authorities, is essential to help them deliver on their ambition. Residents and organisations are also encouraged to continue to make change and form new habits.
The event was timely, coming just 24 hours after the latest government announcement of £1/2 billion investment in retrofitting. This news was put sharply into context though, when we were told that it would take £5 billion to decarbonise Bristol alone.
Our next webinar will look at the planning process in more detail and highlight how the local plan needs to consider the provision of renewable energy generation in our communities. Councils and communities that are breaking the stranglehold on energy production by building their own renewable projects will also be featured.
If you would like to find out more about how Cratus can support you and your organisation in reaching your climate goals, please contact Vikki Slade.