Highland Council launches pioneering new Energy Benchmarking Tool to bolster its Net Zero ambitions

Energy benchmarking tool
How the Energy Benchmarking Tool appears online

A new online energy benchmarking tool - a first for a local authority in the UK - will provide Highland Council with invaluable information and play a major part in helping the local authority realise its Net Zero ambitions. 

The pioneering Energy Benchmarking Tool, first presented to Members of the Council’s Climate Change Committee in October and launched today, will provide open and transparent information about where Highland Council’s property related carbon emissions come from and ultimately help the local authority make more informed decisions around energy expenditure. 

The energy performance reporting tool has been created by the Council’s Climate Change and Energy Team and is designed to provide meaningful analysis and information in relation to the energy consumption, costs, and relative performance efficiencies of the non-domestic property estate. 

It directly supports Highland Council’s Net-Zero Strategy, which has a target of zero emissions from operations by 2045. 

For 2022 to 2023, total emissions amounted to 36,702 tonnes CO2e, of which over 60% is attributed to non-domestic properties, such as schools, offices, and depots. 

Chair of Highland Council’s Climate Change Committee, Cllr Karl Rosie, welcomed the live launch of the tool, which was presented to members in a verbal update at today’s Climate Change Committee meeting.  

He said: “This is a fantastic tool which supports Highland Council’s aspiration towards greater openness and transparency with respect to the data it holds. 

“Understanding where the Council’s property related carbon emissions arise from, will enable more informed decision-making around the Council’s energy expenditure and net-zero obligations.” 

Benchmarking energy performance is a process that either compares the energy use of a building with other similar structures or looks at how energy use varies from a baseline. 

It informs organisations about how and where they use energy and what factors drive their energy use. 

Benchmarking enables energy, building and asset managers to determine the key metrics for assessing performance, to establish baselines, and to set performance goals. 

It helps to identify building upgrade opportunities that can reduce expenditure by lowering energy and operating costs. It also facilitates continuous improvement by providing diagnostic measures to evaluate performance over time, e.g., effectiveness of implemented projects. 

Cllr Rosie added: “Although benchmarking doesn’t directly reduce energy consumption, it does provide the informed basis for justification of either behaviour change or investment in remedial works to realise savings in carbon, cost, and energy.” 

The Energy Benchmarking Tool is now live and available on the Highland Council website

5 Dec 2023