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Modern Energy Partners: Public Sector Decarbonisation Guidance

Modern Energy Partners

To meet the UK’s public sector estate decarbonisation targets, rapid scale-up of delivery is required across the public sector.

The Modern Energy Partners (MEP) programme explored how this could be achieved, at scale, to drive efficiency, and gain consistent results. This was achieved through utilising a repeatable whole systems approach to develop an end to end decarbonisation process.

Whilst the MEP programme focused on campus-style public sector sites, much of the content is likely to be applicable across a wide range of sites.

This webpage gives access to a mass of resources (including insights, tools, templates and guidance) that have been developed in the MEP end to end decarbonisation process.

Who should use these resources?

The resources are available to download following the links at the bottom of this page and are intended for use by the public sector and corresponding private sector supply chain (certain resources are limited to public sector use only and are available on request).

What is the end to end process for decarbonisation used by MEP?

The whole process of decarbonising public sector estates can take a number of years and cover a multitude of activities, starting with developing a phased organisational decarbonisation strategy and plan covering the whole estate portfolio and then considering how decarbonisation is going to happen. This should take into account aspects such as:

  • what capacity building is required to monitor and manage decarbonisation,
  • how that will be delivered and what procurement or commercial arrangements will need to be put in place,
  • what the technical solution will be across each site, and at the scale needed.

It is likely that between each phase there will be a need to secure funding through grant funding applications or internal funding routes and writing business cases.

The decarbonisation strategy will set out the overall objectives, while the plan will give more detail on how these will be delivered. The diagram below shows some of the steps that might be set out in a decarbonisation plan, forming the end to end decarbonisation process.

A range of resources that can be utilised to help you through this end to end decarbonisation process can be found below. They are split into three areas:

  1. Insights covering the whole process, to give a high-level understanding of the steps involved
  2. Detailed guidance on the Smart Energy Data Management step
  3. Detailed guidance on the Concept Design and Planning step.

Resources and Guides


Overarching insights to consider when putting together a decarbonisation strategy and plan identified. These span all steps of the process set out above.

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Smart energy data management

Insights and guidance on how to identify and take forward a programme of smart energy data management.

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Concept design planning

A guide on how to design a decarbonisation pathway for a site using a whole system approach across heat, power and links with future transport energy needs.

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Related Guidance

Net Zero Estate Playbook

The Government Property Function’s Net Zero Estate Playbook sets out key policies and guidance for public sector property teams to help in the transition of public buildings and estates to Net Zero

Read more

MEP – Public Sector Decarbonisation Guidance FAQs

The MEP process includes concept design planning. Is this the same as a decarbonisation plan?


A decarbonisation plan can cover a site or multiple sites, but it should provide an explanation of how decarbonisation is going to be achieved. That could include governance, capacity and capability, delivery routes, and how implementation and delivery is going to be monitored.

A concept design for a site forms part of the decarbonisation plan and provides an indication of the technologies and interventions which, if implemented at the site, will offer the best value, most efficient pathway for decarbonising. It should take a whole systems approach and should capture assets being replaced at end of life and the sequencing needed. It is not possible to predict the future and therefore any concept should take into account a series of options which can be modelled and updated in the future.

What is whole systems thinking?


Whole systems thinking considers the interactions between different parts of a system and between different systems. In the case of the energy system, this could be interactions between and within systems at a national, regional, local, site or even building level. For a campus site, there is a need to understand interactions between the energy systems locally connecting to the site, operating across the site and even within individual buildings.

To decarbonise complex sites, key facets of system thinking include considering how energy will be used and moving away from fossil fuels by utilising vector change (e.g. switching from natural gas to electricity or hydrogen).

What are the benefits of whole system thinking?


Common practice in site decarbonisation, up until now, has been to collect a series of measures and estimate the benefit of each measure in isolation. This fails to consider how measures interact within the whole system and with each other. MEP used a whole system model to leverage many otherwise hidden advantages:

  • Comparing options rapidly;
  • Assessing the impact of timing on different interventions;
  • Sizing equipment appropriately to meet requirements and reduces the risk of stranded or oversized assets;
  • Assessing the cost/benefits of achieving different levels of decarbonisation.

Modern Energy Partners

Applying systems thinking to deliver the evidence and action plans needed by Government to achieve near-term carbon reduction and longer-term targets of Net Zero by 2050.

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