Index helps to support large scale energy programmes

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A new report has revealed how the Local Authority Energy Index has performed over the past 12 months…

The Local Authority Energy Index was set up to highlight best practice and increase awareness of the barriers facing local authorities when delivering large-scale energy programmes.

The index, which was developed by Knauf Insulation and GE and received support from the Green Investment Bank, has been expanded this year to take into account global and regional changes to the energy sector.

The tool helps interested parties to measure energy efficiency in their local area against other parts of the country, and opens up the sector to discussions on the challenges or barriers that may prevent progress.

This new report carried out during 2015 and published last week scored 103 local authorities on a number of key areas including energy efficiency in the community and in local housing stock, as well as energy management in council-owned buildings and in infrastructure.

Knauf Insulation’s marketing director Chris Witte said: “Last year’s pilot study focused on 25 local authorities.  The success of the campaign was in the positive response and feedback we’ve had from local authorities, validating the need for the report.

“Many councils have already taken steps to improve the energy efficiency of homes, offices and local transport, both within their estate and outside and this report recognises the ground covered; usually in difficult circumstances dealing with ‘stop-start’ central Government programmes, and always with constrained budgets.

“By creating a clear platform for engagement, the Energy Index helps local authorities to learn from each other, whilst providing a mechanism that encourages Government to adopt energy efficiency as a priority infrastructure investment.

“A key element in delivering this, is the capability of local authorities to be strategic delivery partners of such programmes.”

One local authority that has implemented energy efficiency measures is Peterborough City Council. This included collective switching, the introduction of local energy tariffs, efficiency programmes on its own buildings, and the use of waste to energy programmes.

The city council’s corporate director of resources John Harrison said changes to the way in which energy is used and generated had put councils is a good position.

“The energy market has changed dramatically in recent times, both in terms of the way the energy we use is generated and the ability to produce more localised energy,” he said.

“This has presented a fantastic opportunity for local authorities.  We’ve certainly capitalised on this and it has enabled us to forge strategic partnerships with a variety of external private sector suppliers, leading to some major success stories.”

Local authorities are responsible for 50 per cent of energy usage and cover 50 per cent of the population in England. As such they have a significant role to play in the energy sector.

Stephen Mitchell, Director of Sales Excellence at GE, said: “Global energy consumption is growing at an exponential rate and this burden is in turn weighing heavy on local authorities: as population centres become increasingly urbanised, the old systems and services are starting to creak under the pressure.

“Tackling consumption at its source by improving energy efficiency in buildings and infrastructure networks, such as street lighting, is one of the key ways that local authorities can deal with the mounting challenge – and it’s essential that businesses engage with the public sector to support this process.”

For more information visit the Local Authority Energy Index.

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