Zero Carbon Energy
The focus of ‘zero carbon energy’ is on reducing our reliance on energy from fossil fuels, because burning fossil fuels contributes to the release of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, resulting in global heating and climate change. The amount of fossil fuels we use through personal activity is known as our ‘carbon footprint;’ reducing this is an effective way to work towards zero carbon energy as an individual.
How to make a change
- Identify suitable areas for solar panel installation.
- Crowd-fund for sustainable energy projects in your community, to benefit organisations in need.
- Promote the use of smart meters within the community to better understand energy use.
- Encourage new developments to aim for carbon-zero, and to go beyond minimum efficiency standards.
- Set minimum efficiency standards for housing beyond national standards, particularly within the private rental sector where a large proportion of people live. Require higher than national standards for new building proposals. Consider ratings such as Epc-C, BREAAM or Passivhaus for updating current infrastructure and fo new buildings.
- Encourage retrofits including insulation, solar panels, air source heat pumps on housing. Focus efforts first on social housing, where this will help to achieve a better quality of life for residents who may not be able to afford sufficient heating currently.
- Promote and support access to schemes to alleviate fuel poverty, for example fuel voucher schemes.
- Ensure that your own procurement policy includes sustainable specifications, including low energy lightbulbs, and high energy rated appliances.
- Upgrade the insulation and heating systems of council buildings, taking advantage of interest-free finance options.
- Identify areas suitable for renewable energy in the local plan.
- Create a set of efficiency standards for new buildings in your local area
- Conduct a feasibility study for solar panels on key community buildings
Community Energy Birmingham are a Society for Community Benefit, with the primary aim of reducing carbon emissions in Birmingham. If you own land or buildings CEB will look at the opportunities for installing renewable energy technology. https://www.communityenergybirmingham.coop/
Energy with Confidence by Phil Beardmore offers an advice service aiming to make your home or business greener. https://energyconfidence.co.uk/
Bioregional offer Sustainability Consulting for Local Authorities. https://www.bioregional.com/projects-and-services/built-environment-consultancy/local-authorities
Net Zero Navigator tool for identifying and building plans to reach net-zero in UK local authority areas. https://netzero-navigator.oneplanet.com/
Join the Climate Emergency Network on Knowledge Hub, for sharing information between local authorities https://khub.net/web/climatelocal
Local Government Association – Climate change hub, includes tools such as Greenhouse Gas Accounting tool for identifying baselines. https://www.local.gov.uk/our-support/climate-change-hub
Support local businesses to pledge to reducing their environmental impact with the West Midlands Net Zero Business Pledge https://www.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/environment-and-energy/west-midlands-net-zero-business-pledge/
Ashden Sustainability plan Toolkit for Councils: https://ashden.org/tools-for-councils/
The National Audit Office Report into Local Government and Net Zero identified £1.2 billion in specific grant funding available in 2020-2021 for local authorities to act on climate change, and notes this is a sixteen-fold increase on the previous year.