England & Wales Climate action and sustainable development

How can councils improve their carbon footprint?


Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Given the government’s important commitment to net zero by 2050, a clear challenge has been set for local authorities (and many others) to improve their carbon footprint, writes Mike Giles of the ECA (Electrical Contractors Association).

But how can council’s do this in a challenging era, which includes tight budgets, rising social care costs, and the impact of coronavirus?

To understand the challenge, leading electrical and engineering services body ECA conducted a recent freedom of information request on local authorities.

Overall, 93 out of 214 local authorities (43 per cent) say that they don’t measure all energy use in relation to their built assets, which include housing, facilities, offices and other council-owned buildings.

While almost half (47 per cent) of councils say they do not have a plan in place for reducing the carbon emissions resulting from their built assets.

This is of course a major concern, because unless there is a step change from councils in the near future, it is inconceivable that they are going to be carbon neutral in less than 30 years.

To help support local authorities (and other facilities owners and managers), ECA has created a useful energy saving checklist. This includes a range of tips across areas including lighting, heating, device management, vehicles, and energy sources.

To finish on a more positive note, 166 councils (78 per cent) say they are planning towards net zero operation by 2050. Furthermore, 49 local authorities (23 per cent) stated that they would be carbon neutral by 2030.

This is very positive to hear and ECA and our Members stand ready to support local authorities and other building owners in getting zero carbon done.



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