Carbon Neutral GM Public Sector Estate

Business, Local Gov't, Public Sector • Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, and more...

Creating Building Energy Decarbonisation Plans (BEDP) and toolkits to map out and measure clear pathways for all partner organisations to become carbon neutral by 2038.

  • Illustrative partner decarbonisation pathway
  • Illustrative outputs of the partner portfolio through a lens
  • Stock image: Manchester Town Hall

Our story

Greater Manchester's public sector organisations are making progress with decarbonising their estate. However, significantly more needs to happen if Greater Manchester (GM) is to deliver the Greater Manchester Five Year Environment Plan (5YEP) and get to carbon neutral by 2038.

The first step on our journey has been to understand the impact of our public sector estate. This has involved working with our ten districts to baseline the energy use and performance of their buildings. The knowledge and data gained through this exercise informed a successful combined partnership bid for the GM £78m Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme 1 (PSDS 1), funded by Salix. The grant has funded energy interventions that will decarbonise over 150 public sector buildings.

Looking ahead to 'what next?', we realised that our partners were lacking an evidence-backed action plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2038. Using grants that we secured from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme Low Carbon Skills Fund, funded by Salix, we commissioned Buro Happold to create Building Energy Decarbonisation Plans (BEDP) for our PSDS 1 public sector partners.

Each BEDP describes how the partner intends to replace fossil fuel reliant systems with low carbon alternatives. It acknowledges the current state of the partner's energy use and the actions needed to decarbonise it.

The BEDP comes with a toolkit that is tailored for each public sector partner. The toolkit presents a recommended carbon pathway mapped out to 2038 with a capital cost spend profile for the associated energy interventions and the resulting running cost spend profile.

The toolkit also provides users with the ability to define their own decarbonisation pathway by choosing energy intervention measures for each building and the year that they plan to implement them. The toolkit shows what this would mean for capital costs, running costs, carbon savings, etc.

A major advantage is that the toolkit has the facility for updating asset information, energy data and capital cost of intervention measures. Users are able to quickly understand where they are versus where they need to be on their carbon decarbonisation pathway. To help the user identify remedial actions the toolkit presents their building portfolio through different lenses - for example, most carbon intensive buildings, buildings with highest heat demand, most inefficient buildings, etc. This enables our partners to identify which buildings they want to target based on their current priorities.

Our advice

The GM £78m Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme 1 (PSDS 1), funded by Salix, was a great success for GM and its public sector partners.

However, one key learning from the lead up to the application was the need for our partners to have ongoing data insight and tools to plan for decarbonisation.

Previous activity had shown that standardised and replicable templates work well for our partners. It also puts us in a much stronger position for collaborative working.

When we commissioned Buro Happold to prepare Building Energy Decarbonisation Plans, we were keen to ensure the output provided our partners with the necessary data insights and tools as well as providing a standardised approach that could be replicated across partners.

Buro Happold's consultation with stakeholders from GMCA, the Districts and other public sector organisations to discuss and further define what the success would look like at the end of project worked well. This was crucial particularly due to time frame, geographical scale of the portfolio and the funding available.

Another of the challenges that they successfully navigated was to make sure that the BEDPs co-ordinated with other decarbonisation initiatives ongoing at a partner and city-region level. The toolkit has the capability of updating data sets so that it can build in other activity taking place to ensure an accurate decarbonisation pathway and activity is being reflected. It also provides a central platform to allow for data analytics across different portfolios.

The methodology they developed enabled the toolkit to meet the key requirement for functionality, easy to use and update, and providing sufficient guidance to facilitate the action plans in their decarbonisation pathway.

Looking back, the BEDPs and supporting toolkit has been well received by GMCA's public sector partners.

Our metrics

Pipeline of decarbonisation interventions being identified/developed/delivered (kWh/TCO2 saving) annually
Portfolio carbon emissions is on target with carbon neutral pathway
Responsible person is in place and proactively managing the building energy decarbonisation plan
Tool is being used by districts to plan their zero carbon programme in line with 5YEP target

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Response to climate crisis





Business, Local Gov't, Public Sector, 250 to 10,000 people

Shared by

North West Net Zero Hub

Updated Nov, 2023

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