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Planning for a carbon neutral Greater Manchester public sector estate

Greater Manchester's public sector organisations are making progress with decarbonising their estate. However, significantly more needs to happen if Greater Manchester is to deliver the Greater Manchester Five Year Environment Plan and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2038.

Crane lifting equipment at Salford Civic centre

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.

Equipment on the roof of the Salford Civic centre

The knowledge and data gained through this exercise informed a successful combined partnership bid for the Greater Manchester £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.

Scaffolding outside the Salford Civic centre

Looking ahead to 'what next?', we realised that our partners were lacking an evidence-backed action plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2038.

Using the grant secured, 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.