Improving energy efficiency in local councils with industry seminar

knaufThe topic of energy efficiency has again been pushed into the spotlight at the Guardian Public Leaders Network seminar held on February 12, which sought to explore best practice and barriers for local authorities trying to reduce energy bills across the board.

Held in conjunction with Knauf Insulation, the seminar focused on the topic of ?Energy Efficiency: How to enhance local authority strategies’ and also considered the findings of the recently launched Local Authority Energy Index, which measures the local energy and energy efficiency agendas of councils in England.

John Alker, director of policy and communications and interim chief executive at the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), began the event with an address recognising the local authorities that are leading council efforts in energy efficiency, and how they can play a key role with government to continue improvement in this area. Mr. Alker also addressed uncertainty around the outcome of the General Election and warned that the challenge for the next elected party would be the consistency and longevity of policy approach, adding that ?energy efficiency must be viewed as a national infrastructure priority.’

The seminar’s panel consisted of Malcolm Ball, director of Energy Efficiency at UK Green Investment Bank; Ian Hutchcroft, head of local delivery at the Energy Saving Trust; Tim Pryce, head of public sector at the Carbon Trust; Sarah Sims, programme manager – Housing at Bristol City Council; and Steven Heath, director of public affairs and strategy (Northern Europe) at Knauf Insulation.

Knauf Insulation says a key part of the seminar was the work around its Local Authority Energy Index, which was initially designed as a pilot tool to analyse the state of play in local authority energy efficiency, and to assist those that want to improve their performance.

Dr Steven Fawkes, founder and principal at EnergyPro and co-author of the Local Authority Energy Index, said:

“The seminar was a good first opportunity to obtain some real feedback on the Energy Index and what would be useful for local authorities in future as we take the Index forward.” 

Discussions on this topic found that the need for benchmarking across councils; the sharing of best practice; and having robust measurement in place to build an effective business case were important themes in tackling energy efficiency in local areas.

Steven Heath said:

“It was great to engage with so many people across such a wide spectrum of issues.  They were all passionate about confronting the challenges that exist for councils trying to reduce energy bills for residents, businesses and their own estates.  It was also extremely beneficial to gather so much feedback on where the Local Authority Energy Index might go from here.”

John Sinfield, managing director at Knauf Insulation, added:

“This has been a fascinating debate that has really shown that between local authorities and industry we can solve the problems of energy efficiency, but we need a Government to provide the right framework to follow through.”

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