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The latest network queries circulated for this service are listed below.

If you would like more information about any of these queries or want to submit a response, please email Phil Brennan

RENEW106 - Reporting on carbon related performance measures - 111220

This authority is looking to report on carbon related performance measures both for internal operations and at local authority level, and would like to hear from other local authorities who may have started to do this. They are particularly interested in thoughts on reporting via dashboards to make the information easy to interpret, accessible, interactive and engaging.

RENEW105 - Climate change - roles, resources and responsibilities - 111220

This authority is considering the scale of resource required to address the climate change agenda and is keen to hear from others regarding the following:-

  • How many people are directly responsible for climate change and sustainability matters (i.e. it represents 100% of their time)?
  • Are they based in the corporate centre or in a service (e.g. environmental services dept)?
  • If the latter do they have responsibilities corporately or within that department only?
  • Do you have a core team to address this topic with officers from a range of services?
  • Are you planning to increase the staff resource in future? If so by how many?

Please provide brief further information you feel relevant such as description of responsibilities - community engagement, behavioural change, communications, funding applications, administrative support.

RENEW104 - Tenders for small scale battery storage projects - 201120

This authority is interested in hearing from councils who have recently undertaken tenders for small scale battery storage projects. They are looking at a number of building integrated battery projects and would like to hear from any LAs that had done similar projects already to see if there are any lessons learned. Any replies would be gratefully appreciated. 

RENEW103 - Procurement of sustainable low carbon stationery supplies - 201120

This authority is going out to procure a new contract for stationary supplies and would welcome input from other councils who have experience in sourcing sustainable low carbon stationery supplies. Any research or experience in this would be gratefully appreciated.

RENEW102 - Updating a council energy policy to include enhanced building standards for council buildings - 051120

This authority is in the process of reviewing and updating their energy policy (their current one is 14 years old), within which they want to include design and build standards for any new build or refurbishments of council buildings that go above and beyond Building Regulations. They are really keen to hear from other local authorities who have such standards in place and if so, what design standard targets they use? Information about this topic would be gratefully received.

RENEW101 - Charging for energy efficiency in council properties - 231020

This local authority’s social housing stock is managed by an ALMO and they are looking at how they can improve the thermal efficiency of the stock. They are considering an energy charge which is separate from the rental payment and the normal utility bills. It would sit over the property for a number of years depending on the lifetime of the measures and be priced cautiously to ensure that the tenant benefits in the round. This authority would welcome replies from any councils that have had any experience of developing a policy or can provide any legal advice?

RENEW100 - Managing the costs of transitioning council housing stock to net zero - 231020

This local authority is interested in understanding how other local authorities with retained social housing stock are managing/or intend to manage additional costs from investment to bring social housing stock to net zero. They would specifically welcome responses to the following questions:

1. Have you changed your stock investment plans and priorities as a result of a climate emergency/net zero declaration (or similar) by your council? If so, what changes?

2. How do you intend to manage increased investment and maintenance costs that will be required in your stock to achieve this? (e.g. absorb costs, rent/service charges) 

3. Have you sought out new or unique funding sources for investment? (e.g. private investment, RHI etc.) If so, which sources? 

RENEW099 - Structuring Energy Management Teams - 121020

The Council’s Planning and Environment Directorate has entered a service review. As part of this the existing energy management team is reviewing how it can be better structured and resourced to address broader climate change issues, including adaptation, inside and outside the Council. To help inform this review, the Council is interested to understand how other authorities have structured, resourced and tasked their equivalent teams. Responses to the following questions would be greatly appreciated:

  • Where does primary responsibility for achieving climate change targets sit within the Council?
  • What processes / mechanisms are used to influence other department’s projects / policies / strategies, to help address climate change?
  • Does the Council, and if so how does it, engage with and support voluntary, community and other interest groups on climate change? (e.g. a dedicate officer? As part of other established mechanisms?) Please provide detail. 
  • Do public behaviour change campaigns feature in the Council’s work to address climate change? (for example, as waste reduction programmes may already do?) Please provide detail. 
  • What sort of initiatives do you operate with the LEP/ business community?
  • Any other comments on what member authorities have found to work or not work in addressing climate change are also welcome.

RENEW098 - Estimating carbon emissions from local authority staff home working - 121020

This authority is considering how best to account for the buildings-related carbon impact of increased home working during the COVID-19 pandemic when it calculates its carbon footprint for 2020-21. While carbon emissions reductions from the closure of some of their office buildings during the pandemic are straightforward to measure, the effect of possible increases in home heating, lighting and ICT use caused by home working is more complicated. They would welcome any information from other authorities in response to these questions:

1. Is your authority intending to account for potential increased heating, lighting and ICT use by staff working at home when estimating its carbon footprint for 2020-21?

2. If so, how are you planning to do this? E.g. by using a benchmark average figure from another organisation for increased energy use per homeworker, or by undertaking a survey of a sample of home working staff to gather information and develop your own figure specific to your authority? What barriers have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

3. If your authority is intending to use a benchmark average figure per homeworker, based on a study by another organisation or existing academic research, what figure are you using and where is it from?

RENEW097 - Electric and hybrid operational fleet vehicles - 240920

This authority is interested in hearing from any local authorities (or contractors) who use any of the following types of electric or hybrid vehicle to deliver your street cleansing or grounds maintenance services?

- 3 .5t cage
- 7 .5t cage
- 3 .5t van
- 4x4 pick up
- 12t sweeper

If so, responses to the following questions would be greatly appreciated:

1. What were the costs of purchasing?

2. What was the cost of installing appropriate infrastructure?

3. Any ongoing running/maintenance costs?

4. Overall are you satisfied with the usability of these vehicles in delivering services?

RENEW096 - Staff dedicated to domestic energy efficiency - 240920

This Council would be interested to hear how other local authorities manage the domestic energy efficiency agenda within their structures. Answers to the following questions would be greatly appreciated: 

1. Does your Local Authority have a team or officers with a specific focus on domestic energy efficiency? (No, Yes team, Yes Officers)

2. If yes, how many officers work on domestic energy efficiency? 

3. Are these officers full time, if no please could you provide this in FTE?

4. Please could you provide the pay Grade (NJC) of these officers?

5. If possible we would like to see an organisational chart providing context for the structure of the team and the respective roles of officers. Any other context you could provide would also be invaluable.

RENEW095 - Climate change data management - 170920

This authority is looking to appoint an officer with responsibility for managing/collating/reporting/analysing data as part of progressing their climate emergency action plan. 

They are keen to see a job description/person spec for such a position. 

They would also appreciate hearing how others have addressed the issue of managing data and the tasks above if not via a specific officer.

RENEW094 - Data for scope 3 carbon emissions - 170920

This authority is looking to allocate a carbon value for all elements of its scope 3 emissions. This means allocating a value for all of its spend with external suppliers. 

There will be issues with the level of detail about procured goods and services and the formatting of data from financial systems. 

They would be keen to hear from other local authorities who have made progress on this issue even if it is related to only part of their spend or to hear the thoughts of others on the matter.

RENEW093 - Use of and evidence for heat pumps - 190820

This authority is investigating heat pumps. They are especially interested in who has installed them and evidence they may have detailing savings that they can produce. 

This is related to:- 
- ground sourced heat pumps
- air sourced heat pumps and
- water sourced heat pumps.

They would also appreciate the names of suppliers who have others have used.

1. Have you installed
- Ground source?
- Air sourced?
- Water sourced?

2. Which company supplied the equipment? 

3. Which company installed the equipment? 

4. Evidence of savings made as a result of using heat pumps. 

5. Any information would be gratefully received.

RENEW092 - Passivhaus standard costs - 190820

This authority is looking to make a decision on the building standard to be used for the Council house building programme. It will be to potentially move from Sustainable Homes Code 3 to Code 4. They have identified a cost premium in doing this of around 12.5% - 16%. As the building programme operates on a fixed budget, the real choice is between a higher specification and less houses or the status quo. 

They are also exploring modular building as a means of offsetting this premium, but that is for a bit further down the line. 

They are also looking at moving from Code 3 to Passivhaus level. They have had it costed by a national housebuilder and the response was an additional cost of c. £45K per unit using conventional building methods. This is not acceptable and would discourage housing development in the town if it was to be introduced. 

They have heard from elsewhere that building to Passivhaus standards is currently resulting in a cost addition of around 4% over the cost of building to Sustainable Homes Code 3. 

It is not clear whether the 4% premium results from comparing homes built by conventional building methods, or conventional with modular, and they are not sure that it is accurate in any event. 

They are keen to hear what information/evidence is available from others which will give a more accurate picture of the cost differential of moving from Code 3 to Passivhaus using conventional building methods to produce the normal 2/3 bedroomed semi-detached council houses? 

Any related information would also be welcome.

RENEW091 - Collecting staff travel data - 130820

This authority is looking into how other councils have successfully collected staff travel data. At the moment, they can only offer an optional online survey but this wouldn’t reach frontline workers who do not use their online system. They would like to make this data collection mandatory and would be interested to hear of any other councils that have got round this at all.

RENEW090 - Reviewing taxi licencing to encourage electric taxis - 130820

This authority is looking at reviewing taxi licencing to try and encourage electric/possibly hybrid taxis in the borough. They understand that councils are required by law to charge to recover only the reasonable costs associated with the administration of the licensing process (which are the same irrespective of vehicle engine type). So essentially, they cannot lawfully charge diesel/petrol vehicle owners more for a licence. However, they are aware that some LAs subsidise fee reductions for electric/hybrid vehicles with other monies, as part of their climate change work. Therefore, this authority is interested in hearing from anyone who has experience in this or has successfully done this.

RENEW089 - Outdoor Heaters - 040820

This authority is looking into the use of outdoor heaters by local businesses, such as cafes, who are moving seating to outside areas due to social distancing measures. They are keen to avoid gas heaters due to climate change concerns and in light of the ban in France. They would be interested in hearing from anyone who is aware of any ‘green’ alternatives that the council could recommend to local businesses.

RENEW088 - Climate change in local plans - 230720

This authority is looking to develop a Supplementary Planning Document to sit alongside their local plan to advise on greener development. This is only allowed to be guidance as they can’t create new policy that isn’t in the Local Plan. They are interested in hearing from other local authorities who have found any workarounds to push for more sustainable development.

RENEW087 - Deep retrofit of commercial/operational buildings - 060720

Most local authorities are looking at the condition of their built assets including energy performance. This issue will have an impact on decisions made about which buildings will be retained, invested in or potentially disposed of.

This authority is looking for examples of others who have undertaken deep retrofit projects on existing commercial or operational buildings (rather than domestics) to improve energy performance. They would appreciate information about examples and the outcomes of the work.

RENEW086 - Training operatives for green technology - 260620

This authority is looking at how to move forward with developing the skills of their in-house operatives to work with green technology being deployed.

  1. They are interested to hear what other authorities experience is of training their operatives up to install/maintain green technologies such as solar kit, heat pumps or EV chargers?
  2. Whether you have undertaken this kind of training so that operatives can install/maintain this kind of technology?
  3. Have you found that there are adequate organisations to deliver this training or is it limited to manufacturers?
  4. Have you offered this service to external organisations as an income generation opportunity?

RENEW085 - Calculating and reporting social value impacts of energy initiatives - 260620

This authority is scoping out possible simple and effective ways to calculate and report wider holistic ‘social value’ impacts and benefits resulting from fuel poverty interventions e.g. home energy efficiency improvements schemes. Advice would be appreciated from other authorities that have done this, including information on their approach, their methodologies, any calculations and details of any technical or research documents have been used a reference point.

RENEW084 - Renewables on council housing stock - 260620

This authority is looking to install renewables on a portion of their housing stock. Their preference at this point in time is investing in solar PV panels to generate electricity and they’re also interested in ground source heat pumps for their blocks of flats. They would be interested to receive responses from other local authorities about their experience of retrofitting old housing stock?

Any information on the following points would be greatly appreciated:-

  1. What were the main issues/barriers you came across e.g. engagement, selecting properties, fitting, supply chain, maintenance, surprises along the way?
  2. What was the tenants’ experience?
  3. What has happened if a property with renewables on it has gone through RTB – how has this been managed, was a prior agreement set up with the tenant?
  4. Has much income been generated by utilising SEG or RHI?
  5. Can you provide indicative costs?

RENEW083 - EV mileage - 180620

This authority is interested in finding out how other local authorities have calculated mileage rates for reimbursement of business travel for staff using their own electric vehicles, as well as charging council vehicles at home. Any responses would be gratefully appreciated.

RENEW082 - Private Wire and licences - 180620

A Scottish member authority is installing a private wire for energy generated from its own solar PV to feed their own buildings and have wires in the ground ready to go.

SPEN have now raised an issue - their internal solicitor is of the view that under the Electricity Act 1989, in order to own/utilise a distribution network the Council either need a licence to do so or an exemption from the Secretary of State.

They claim that they would be unable to progress the connection until they are satisfied that the Council are legally authorised to distribute electricity.

Have others come across a similar situation with the DNO.?

It is our opinion at APSE Energy that this is not necessary but both we and the authority are keen to hear the experience of others.

RENEW081 - Flexible energy procurement - 260520

This authority is preparing a business case for moving its energy supply contracts from fixed price to flexible procurement. They are interested to hear from other local authorities who have done the same, especially in relation to cost savings achieved and the benefits or issues to be aware of.

Any experience you have of moving to flexible procurement will be gratefully received. 

RENEW080 - Electric Car Pool for employees to use on business travel - 180520

This authority is looking at setting up an Electric Car Pool for employees to use on business travel. They would like to hear from others who have set up similar schemes and if you have any feedback on this? Any examples would be most welcome.

RENEW079 - Citizens Assembly Case Studies - 180520

This authority is looking at planning and delivering a Citizens Assembly and is interested in any best practice case studies from other councils. They are particularly interested in:-

  • How many people took part with a breakdown of the types of people / residents and organisations?
  • Did you facilitate it yourself or use an external organisation?
  • How much did it cost?
  • How much time (in days) has been involved with the citizens assembly?
  • What were your outcomes (link to information online).
  • How would you do things differently?
  • What are the key pointers for others looking to do this?
  • Overall, would you recommend this as an approach Council’s take?

RENEW078 - Providers of leased electric vehicles - 180520

This authority is going out to soft market test for the provision of leased electric vehicles. They would like to hear from others who are aware of potential providers that they are using.

RENEW077 - Measuring the carbon emissions of decisions - 120520

This authority is looking for a mechanism for identifying the impact of decisions yet to be taken on the Council’s carbon target.

They are keen to provide a model or checklist which officers can use when taking reports to councillors and senior managers. It would be generic but adaptable to a range of circumstances, services and options e.g. from closing a care home or building a football pitch to purchasing cleaning supplies. The outcome would most likely be in the form of a comparative measure such as CO2e emitted but may be another.

They are keen to hear from others who are addressing the same issue and their thoughts, solutions and experiences.

RENEW076 - Reporting contractor emissions - 120520

This authority is interested in hearing how other local authorities treat contractors’ emissions when determining what carbon emissions are included and excluded from their ‘ownership’ and accounting.

Specifically they are interested to find out :-

  • Whether you expect contractors to account for all of their electric/gas and fuel usage when carrying out local authority work?
  • If this is expected of all contractors or are smaller contractors exempt from reporting?
  • How do you categorise ‘smaller’ contractors?

Any details or guidance on existing procedure/rules on this would be greatly appreciated.

RENEW075 - Reflecting the climate emergency in Local Plans - Assessing the carbon impact of development options - 120520

This authority’s local climate strategy adopts the local carbon budget from the Tyndall Local Carbon Budget Tool which sets a tight budget necessitating a steep descent pathway to near zero by 2041. They are trying to reflect this in the local plan. To this end they are exploring ways to assess the potential emissions impacts of the different plan development options.

They would be very interested to hear how other APSE local authorities have approached this.

Have others calculated/estimated emissions for different development scenarios? If so, how?

Have you made these calculations ‘in house’ or used external bodies to assist?

How have your related these to local carbon budgets or targets?

Have you considered the role of retrofit of existing development?

Examples of any evidence reports assembled to support the development of local plans compatible with local carbon targets would be most welcome.

RENEW074 - Managing pool hall temperatures - 040520

This authority has been looking in detail at the gas consumption of the Council’s leisure centres (with pools). They have identified some issues with the setup of the BMS’ and an opportunity for energy savings – mostly relating to the air handling systems and the pool hall heating. Recent evidence from the lockdown period appears to confirm this.

Currently, the pool hall air temperature is maintained at a constant level just above the water temperature. With the pool cover on, they feel that the pool hall air temperature could be safely lowered overnight and fan speeds reduced without causing issues with condensation, significantly reducing energy required for heating of the air. This assumes that the fans are automatically controlled to maintain a humidity set point.

They are interested to hear of experience from elsewhere, specifically:-

  • Has this approach been tried elsewhere and if so, have any problems been encountered?
  • Can others think of further potential issues that could be caused by implementing this approach?
  • Are other pools already setup like this?
  • Can others provide details of reviews into leisure centre control systems and any recommendations for energy saving measures?

RENEW073 - Carbon baselining for specific services - 070420

This authority is keen to hear from others who have identified the carbon baseline of the following services and how they went about it:-

  • Highways
  • Waste
  • School transport
  • Operations
  • Open spaces

RENEW072 - Staff travel policies - 020420

This authority is reviewing their policy for staff travel. They are keen to hear from others about how they encourage travel by:-

  • public transport
  • bike (for example have you widened your cycle to work scheme to include electric bikes and cars)
  • electric vehicle (for example they currently pay a higher mileage rate for diesel cars than electric vehicles)
  • walking
  • car sharing

A copy of a current policy would be gratefully received as would any other relevant information or ideas.

RENEW071 - Climate Change Advocates - 020420

This authority is looking to set up a programme of Climate Change Advocates within the Council. They realise that in order to meet a carbon neutrality target of 2030 they will need a change of behaviour and culture among officers and councillors. They are keen to put a programme in place and to hear from others who have taken similar action. They would be grateful to receive information about the following:-

  • job titles/responsibilities of members of such a group – officers and councillors
  • aims/objectives of the group
  • what group members are expected to do
  • frequency of meetings
  • reporting arrangements
  • training they have received
  • problems to be avoided
  • work undertaken with organisations external to the council
  • other relevant information.

RENEW070 - The practicalities of Power Purchase Agreements - 180320

This authority is looking into entering a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for electricity.

They are keen to hear responses to the following questions:-

  • Do you have experience of entering or considering a PPA and what was your decision/thinking?
  • Do you have contracts/procurement documents to share?
  • What procurement routes were adopted to bring the project alive?
  • How competitive is the p/kWh compared to wholesale prices (does that include Transmission and Distribution costs, other costs, etc)?
  • How have you dealt with leaseholder issues such as signing long term contracts (e.g. Right to Buy owners in council estates) with PPAs are typically for at least 10 years?

RENEW069 - Solar investments on council houses/commercial property/third party assets - 180320

This authority is interested in installing solar and would like to hear from councils who have experience in the following:-

1. Solar PV panels on the roofs of council houses, please provide details of the following:-

  • the model of investment?
  • how they were financed (General Fund or Housing Revenue Account)?
  • what benefits are identified and how are they split between the Council and tenants?
  • how equity issues between tenants were resolved e.g. for those whose properties were appropriate for solar compared with those that were not?
  • how are you treating this in terms of the carbon emissions impacts/carbon footprint?

2. Solar PV panels on commercial properties they own (e.g. retail, offices, industrial units), please provide details of the following:-

Promoting excellence in public services

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit unincorporated association working with over 300 councils throughout the UK. Promoting excellence in public services, APSE is the foremost specialist in local authority frontline services, hosting a network for frontline service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, cemeteries and crematorium, environmental health, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.






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