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EY – Case Study

Like many councils, the Royal Borough of Kingston (RBK) has declared a climate emergency and committed to achieving net zero on council operations by 2030, or sooner if possible. This includes their operational estate, commercial estate and schools.  

To fit in with budget planning, there was an increasing pressure to understand the cost of delivering these commitments, and the various pathways and options to achieve its ambition.

The Council’s initial estimates suggested as much as £40-50m may be required to decarbonise its operational estate alone. As it is for many councils with competing pressures and priorities, this level of investment was seen as unaffordable. The challenge was that only one option was prepared – so do nothing or spend £50m.

There was a clear need to be able to understand the range of options to achieve net zero, rather than the more binary decision that was in play. With several hundred buildings and an endless combination of monitoring and evaluation and fabric interventions, it was not practical to run these calculations manually, or to build the overarching strategy and portfolio plans.

Some readily accessible data was loaded into the EY Net Zero Estates Accelerator Tool, which quickly mapped out the estate, benchmarked consumption and delivered insights as to different carbon efficiencies by building type, location and source etc.

A workshop was then held to identify the Council’s decarbonisation priorities and wider strategy, so that a number of scenarios could be developed, using different pathways, hierarchies and intervention mixes.

The tool quickly modelled and analysed the datasets against these scenarios, and using intelligent automation, undertook scenario modelling almost instantly. This allowed us to look at each of the scenarios, make in-flight adjustments and immediately see the impact on the carbon reduction projections alongside cost, including the financial benefits of those investments through reduced running costs. From there, we could quickly build up a plan.

The end result was a proposed intervention plan of around £10m, a defined retrofit strategy and approach, and understanding of the revenue impacts and associated savings.

This was modelled in under two weeks, and made retrofit affordable and real, creating the basis for a detailed delivery plan that is now being worked up.

In summary, the tool made the achievement of RBK’s ambition a reality by quickly understanding different options and their impacts.

You can find out more about the EY Net Zero Estates Tool here.

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