The need to address energy efficiency and sustainability across public sector estates remains as relevant in 2020 as it did 10 years ago. However, what has changed in the last 18 months is the number of organisations declaring a climate emergency. Increasingly, local authorities are setting challenging targets to reach net-zero, requiring robust action plans and programmes of activity to be delivered at scale and pace.
There is still much work to be done across the public estate to achieve ‘quick wins’. These include programmes to upgrade LED lighting and replacing boilers. For organisations that have already made progress with such measures there is an opportunity to revisit those buildings and implement deeper retrofit measures, such as fabric improvements and decarbonisation of heat. However, when looking at deeper retrofit, local authorities need to consider a more holistic and long-term approach to investment in carbon reduction on their estates, so that in business cases there is less of a focus on simple paybacks and more emphasis on CO2 reduction. This is a big challenge that needs big solutions.
When developing climate response action plans, a programme of works delivered via a Re:fit Energy Performance Contract offers a tangible first step with rapid impacts. It provides the opportunity for local and combined authorities to kick off their pathway to net-zero by implementing and accelerating energy efficiency measures and local energy generation on their assets, buildings and land, backed by a performance guarantee.
Owned by the Greater London Authority and Local Partnerships, the latest version of the successful Re:fit Energy Performance Contract Framework has just launched. It frees up capacity to grapple with longer term solutions to the more difficult challenges, such as decarbonisation of transport and adaptation. Re:fit provides demonstrable results working with an Energy Service Company (ESCO) partner to design and deliver programmes at scale and pace.
At Local Partnerships we ensure authorities have the necessary skills and tools to set and manage carbon budgets and review projects. We provide expert advice on project identification and delivery, organisational governance and decision-making processes. We are committed to a decarbonised public sector and can support you through all stages of your journey to net-zero.
Rachel Toresen-Owuor is Programme Director, Local Partnerships