Developing a Carbon Offset Fund strategy
What type of work was it?
We were commissioned by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to identify how funds collected through s106 could be used to reduce carbon emission across the borough, mainly through energy efficient retrofits.
A piece of theoretical research then?
Not really – the aim was to develop an approach and tools (energy databases, GIS maps) which can be used very easily to identify the least energy efficient buildings in the borough and trigger relevant action. We worked very closely with Jonathan Taylor at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in order to make sure our work would be relevant and useful.
What were the key outputs?
We developed two energy databases: one with 8,000+ domestic properties in the social housing sector and one with 200+ non-domestic buildings: they provide key information about each property, the type of energy saving measures applicable and their estimated impact. We have also worked with the Council’s GIS experts to create an interactive map which can be used to visualise the energy performance of all these buildings using a colour code and, most importantly, how much energy can be saved in each case, along with an estimated budget. Finally we have prepared a 140-page report to explain our approach transparently so that the Council can easily understand our work and take it forward.
Any lessons learnt?
We really enjoy the very time intensive work we did around the databases, but even more the conclusions we saw emerging as the study progressed and the choices they presented for the Council: should deep retrofit be preferred to shallow retrofits? Should cost efficiency be the only reason for prioritising a project or other Council’s objectives (e.g. fuel poverty) be taken into account too? Working with a London Borough, understanding their concerns and priorities was very very interesting as Local Authorities will play a fundamental role in the design and delivery of energy efficient retrofit programmes.