Wednesday 17 December 2014

On the 10th December I helped launch the Local Authority Energy Index at a reception in the House of Commons. The Index is a new initiative developed by EnergyPro Ltd (my company) in partnership with Knauf Insulation. It is a pilot project with the purpose of providing a measure of performance of authorities on the energy efficiency agenda and to provide examples of best practice that others can learn from. The Index can be found here: (
The initial Local Authority Energy Index covers 25 local authorities in England covering a range of geographies, authority type and socio-economic factors. It uses a range of quantitative and qualitative indicators and draws upon telephone interviews and consulting publicly available data. It looks at four areas that we think are important:

  • energy management of the authority’s own property portfolio
  • energy efficiency in the community (mainly non-domestic)
  • energy efficiency in housing
  • energy infrastructure.

We gave energy management of the authority’s own portfolio a high weighting as we consider it to be the foundation stone for implementing a broader energy agenda. It is important that authorities “walk the walk”, understand the processes of improving energy efficiency, and are convinced by the results. Important factors in this category included; having explicit targets and public reporting of progress, existence of Monitoring and Targeting systems, and the adoption of ISO5001.
We identified a number of concerns in this area including the fact that in some authorities the energy management team have been cut back, at a time when efforts should be increased. Also many energy managers, as in other sectors, are having to spend too much time completing data requests e.g. for CRC and not enough time developing investable projects. Also in some cases the carbon agenda had over-ridden energy management fundamentals and although carbon reduction targets existed energy reduction targets did not.
The energy efficiency in the community category covered factors such as whether the authority was proactively working to help building owners (and/or industry) to improve energy efficiency. This could be through programmes like Cambridge Retrofit or supporting grass roots initiatives.
Energy in housing remains a major issue, particularly given the persisting problem of fuel poverty with all of its attendant costs which appear in the benefit system and the health system. In this category we tried to measure how effective authorities had been in mobilizing funds such as those that were available through CERT and CESP. We did not include ECO as the programmes are still in the early stages and there was little data available on results. In future we will include ECO programmes.
The changes in the energy sector, which is moving towards decentralization and greater flexibility, coupled with the high levels of distrust of big energy companies, mean that there are opportunities for local authorities to become more directly involved in the energy system, even build their own infrastructure. This can take different forms including developing District Heating systems, Combined Heat and Power, local renewables and launching their own energy supply and energy service companies. The latter is a rapidly emerging trend with authorities such as Glasgow, Nottingham, Bristol and Peterborough all moving in that direction which promises to be a major disrupter of the energy market.
Finally in the index we also looked at overall indicators such as energy per capita and energy per Gross Value Added. Although these are affected by many factors completely outside the control of local authorities (including economic mix, type of building stock etc) in time these should be the variables we are all trying to influence.
Over the last few years the large potential for mitigating local and global energy problems through improving energy efficiency has been increasingly recognized but, despite being the cheapest, cleanest and fastest way of delivering energy services, the potential for improved energy efficiency remains under-utilized for a number of structural and historical reasons – some of which can be addressed by local authorities as they have many touch points with energy and can affect levels of energy efficiency in many ways. We believe that those authorities which proactively address this matter in a holistic way will reap great benefits through improved health and welfare, improved finances and local economic development, which will far outweigh the value of energy cost savings alone. Some local authorities in the UK have shown leadership in energy efficiency, either across the whole field or in specific areas, and we hope that the Local Authority Energy Index will help spread best practice and accelerate efforts to improve energy efficiency.
We welcome input and suggestions for improving the index and look forward to developing it in future – both to cover more authorities and to provide improved measures of performance.
Thanks to Knauf Insulation, Michael Floyd and the rest of the Energy Index team and our supporters including Dave Watts MP, Alan Whitehead MP, Dave Sowden of Sustainable Energy Association, Richard Griffiths of UKGBC and many others.


There is 1 comment on “Launching the Local Authority Energy Index”:

Dr Steven Fawkes

Welcome to my blog on energy efficiency and energy efficiency financing. The first question people ask is why my blog is called 'only eleven percent' - the answer is here. I look forward to engaging with you!

Get in touch

Email Twitter Linkedin Skype

Email notifications

Receive an email every time something new is posted on the blog

Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency by Steven Fawkes

My book Energy Efficiency is available to buy now

Outsourcing Energy Management

Outsourcing Energy Management by Steven Fawkes

My book Outsourcing Energy Management is available to buy now

Only Eleven Percent