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Wirral Council
Case Study

Wirral Council

Wirral Council is the local authority of the metropolitan borough of Wirral in Merseyside, England.

Challenge

Wirral Council declared an Environment and Climate Emergency on 15 July 2019.The Council has supported partnership efforts to develop a new climate change strategy that adopts carbon emission reduction targets that are consistent with the latest scientific evidence, underpinning the Paris Agreement1 and the UK’s target to reduce the UK’s emissions by at least 68% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

To meet these ambitious targets, Wirral committed to reduce energy demand, improve energy efficiency and switch to more sustainable energy sources on its path to net zero, but needed to identify exactly which areas were the worst offenders and how to most effectively reduce carbon emissions.

Action

Wirral Council commissioned Energy Saving Trust to support its work on reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by providing both domestic and non-domestic building stock data, scenario modelling and analysis services.

Using our address level building stock database Home Analytics, we found that residential housing stock accounted for most CO2 emissions in Wirral (42.5%).

A team of Energy Saving Trust consultants and experts used Home Analytics, in conjunction with our SAP-based calculation software – the Portfolio Energy Assessment Tool (PEAT) – to complete the following tasks:

Portfolio Energy Assessment Tool

 

Our work for Wirral Council included:

  • Benchmarking key attributes and energy efficiency characteristics of the housing stock and non-domestic stock in Wirral against regional and national averages.
  • Compiling a non-domestic buildings dataset that incorporates the main property attributes and energy efficiency indicators.
  • Assessing the potential costs and savings of different building retrofit pathways to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Identifying opportunities and challenges for home improvements and commercial buildings improvements within Wirral.
  • Producing maps to help target promotion of the UK Government’s Green Homes Grant fund for local authorities to homes in the greatest need of upgrades.
  • Producing maps to help identify clusters of non-domestic properties requiring retrofit or renewable energy interventions.
  • Providing expert data and evidence-based recommendations to help inform both Wirral’s climate change strategy and its approach to decarbonisation for its entire building stock.

Result

We delivered a residential and a non-domestic buildings database, which together included over 100 fields of known and modelled information for buildings in Wirral. A comprehensive report analysing this data and comparing the impacts of different decarbonisation scenarios was also provided to help inform Wirral Council’s short and long-term strategies.

“Our experience with Energy Saving Trust has been excellent from start to finish. The Council would certainly recommend Home Analytics, PEAT and the non-domestic buildings report to other local authorities looking for similar information, to assist them in improving buildings in the transition to low and zero carbon.” Ed Kingsley, principal strategic housing and investment officer Wirral Council

The report identified key opportunities, such as heat pumps, insulation and funding availability, as well as challenges such as reliance on gas and the logistical challenges of retrofitting flats, which will need to be addressed in the Council’s decarbonisation strategy.

The Council has started to use the Home Analytics data and our recommendations to target lower super output areas (LSOAs)2 for the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme. Targeting has been based on low energy efficiency ratings, high numbers of properties requiring solid wall insulation, higher than average fuel poverty levels, low income, and high health deprivation. Community engagement is underway in these areas with low carbon retrofit improvements beginning in mid to late summer 2021.

Sustainability

“There are many challenges ahead however there is certainly a sense of optimism given the local collective willingness to tackle climate change,” said Ed Kingsley.

Wirral Council now has a new Environment and Climate Emergency Policy By changing how the Council operates, makes decisions and provides services, it hopes to achieve an ambitious target to be net carbon neutral by 2030.

 

  1. The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP21 in Paris, France on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
  2. Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOA) are a geographic hierarchy designed to improve the reporting of small area statistics in England and Wales.

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Last updated: May 20th, 2021