June 20th 2023

Decarbonisation funding to help public sector meet net-zero targets

Decarbonisation funding to help public sector meet net-zero targets

In 2019, the UK became the first major economy to introduce legislation to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. As a part of the UK Net-Zero Strategy, the government stated its plan for the public sector to lead by example in reducing its emissions, with the aim of a 75% reduction by 2037.

To meet these targets, significant improvements are required across all areas, including how public sector buildings are constructed, retrofitted, and operated, to increase energy efficiency and implement heat decarbonisation. Consequently, many public sector decarbonisation funding schemes have been launched to support this transition in public sector buildings, across Healthcare, Schools, and local authority owned properties. 

Making the most of these funding schemes

Within the public sector, there are multiple funds that providers can bid for to assist with decarbonisation of their existing (and future) buildings. One of these is the Heat Networks Efficiency Scheme (HNES), which supports performance improvements to existing district heating and communal heating projects. The next round of funding closes 7th July, with eight rounds scheduled until May 2024. 

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) provides grants to fund heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures as part of the wider aim to reduce emissions from public sector buildings. The next application window for PSDS funding is expected to open in autumn this year, meaning it’s prime time for providers to be gathering the data required and planning ahead for the application process.

Another way to unlock funding is through the Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund (LCSF), which provides grants for consultancy work to create decarbonisation plans. Phase 4 of funding closed mid-April, with applicants finding out if they were successful by 30th June. Phase 4 allows providers the funding to work with experts to either develop or improve a heat decarbonisation plan, develop standalone detailed designs from pre-existing plans up to RIBA Stage 3, or carry out both of these options. 

The application process for the above schemes can be complex and time consuming, with some applications being rejected due to vague plans that fail to prove the decarbonisation funding will be well spent and create significant improvements. One way to create a more robust bid is to utilise digital tools to remove the guesswork and provide more accurate, detailed information around how the funding will be used. This is where IES can assist both at application stage for funding, and once funding has been secured, through use of our digital tools.

Pre Application Support

With some basic information on your building(s), IES experts can produce a report which demonstrates the use of digital techniques such as energy modelling and digital twinning to create a Heat Decarbonisation Plan (HDP), along with some example outputs, dashboards, and associated costs, which covers most of the points and information required to complete decrabonisation funding applications. Our team then offers additional support and expertise to help complete or review applications before submitting, to ensure the best chance of success. 

Post Application Support

Once decarbonisation funding has been secured, a digital twin of your building(s) can be created and used in multiple ways to help with energy efficiency and decarbonisation: 

Net Zero Strategies 
Our digital twins can help create an effective net zero strategy by providing the best of building physics, data, machine learning and AI to help test, compare and evaluate the impact of various zero carbon interventions. Using the digital twin encourages intelligent policy making and allows refining and adaptation of net zero strategies over time to ensure targets remain within reach. The digital twin is an evolving digital asset that stays with you throughout the decarbonisation process and for the full lifecycle of the building(s), enabling you to identify exactly what actions need to be taken to meet your targets for 2030, 2050 and beyond, tracking your progress along the way. Providing a dynamic approach that is reactive and able to adapt to any unforeseen challenges as they arise.

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Heat Decarbonisation Plans 
Our tools allow heat decarbonisation plans to be assessed with ease for any new or existing development and determine the best performing solution. Integrating real or simulated data with electric, heat, cooling and water networks allows for identification of whether the underlying infrastructure needs altered or upgraded, to design a network that reduces energy loss and increases efficiency.

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Performance verification 
Our tools can also be used to undertake performance measurement and verification, ensuring savings that are predicted prior to implementing heat network improvement interventions are verified once implemented. For some funding schemes, the funds are released at stages once verification has taken place. Therefore, this not only provides confidence that your interventions are working but can be vital to ensuring funds are issued to enable progression with your net-zero plan.    

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Whilst emissions from the public sector have reduced by around 40% since 1990, there is still a long way to go before the sector reaches its targets during the transition to net zero. IES has the technology, consulting services, and training to help you pre and post-funding application with achieving your organisational net zero targets.

Contact us
If you have recently secured funding and don’t know where to start with your decarbonisation plans, or if you would like to develop your funding application, please get in touch with our team here.