2014-12-09 17_12_58-LAEI Report_FINALRecognising that Local Authorities can have a dramatic effect on the energy that people and businesses use, a study has been compiled to look at locally driven energy programmes. The Local Authority Energy Index developed by Knauf Insulation analysed 25 Local Authorities from England covering a range of Metropolitan, London and Unitary authorities, as well as a range of geographies.

The Energy Index considers how these Local Authorities have worked to influence the local energy and energy efficiency agendas, along with measuring and ranking their work in this area. It uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures to produce an overall index of performance in energy efficiency.  In particular, highlighting best practice and exploring barriers that exist for Councils trying to improve well-being and reduce energy bills for residents, businesses and their own estate.

Local Authorities have often taken a leading and trusted role in regional domestic energy efficiency programme delivery while also setting an example of efficient energy use in their own estate. That role may be set to grow with plans from all parties placing a greater emphasis on devolution of power to regional parliaments and assemblies.

Chris Witte Marketing Director Northern Europe at Knauf Insulation comments: “Many Councils have already taken steps to improve the energy efficiency of homes, offices and local transport both within their estate and in the communities that they serve. Indeed, this report seeks to recognise the excellent work many are undertaking, usually in difficult circumstances.

“The Local Authority Energy Index looks at these successes and also seeks to better understand the barriers that have prevented some councils from doing more. By assessing successful solutions, we hope that the health benefits of warmer homes, and the local economic benefits of improving houses and other buildings, can be felt across the country.  We foresee this Energy Index will add to existing knowledge and help to share best practice by benchmarking progress and activity, as well as offering a platform for debate.”

The business case for large-scale energy efficiency is robust. Research from Cambridge Econometrics demonstrates just what a positive story improving UK homes makes for individuals, and for the country as a whole: highlighting that a large scale renovation programme between 2020 and 2030 would help to create over 100,000 new jobs. This translates into every £1 invested by Government, returning £3.25 benefit to the economy through GDP. These benefits would be felt most keenly in the areas local to the programme.

It is a known fact that UK Local Authorities have been under considerable financial constraints for the last few years and so this Energy Index reports on those Local Authorities responding to these challenges with innovative and forward-thinking energy programmes.  Bristol City Council is a fine example of where it has been concentrating on engaging with the community and securing additional funding streams to finance energy initiatives.

Mareike Schmidt, Service Manager Energy at Bristol City Council explains: “We have over 180,000 properties that need to be improved over the next few years and so we have put together a £60 million contract with Climate Energy to retrofit homes in Bristol. We will be visiting every household in the city over the next four years to convince everyone to sign up to energy saving measures.” Warm Up Bristol is just of one of Council’s on-going large scale energy efficiency and renewable energy schemes.

There is always room for improvement and things to learn from best practice. Knauf Insulation encourages the leadership within all Local Authorities to re-consider and re-invigorate their efforts in this vital area. To find out more about the Local Authority Energy Index please visit www.laenergyindex.co.uk where the report is available for download or contact laenergyindex@knaufinsulation.com

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