Systematically decarbonising the public sector estate
Modern Energy Partners (MEP) was a ground-breaking innovation programme tasked with exploring how to decarbonise the public sector estate, delivered in collaboration with selected government departments and the NHS.
Completed in September 2021, Phase 2 of MEP was funded by the Innovation team at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and overseen by BEIS and the Cabinet Office. The programme focused on learning through doing, testing out the practicalities of decarbonisation on complex campus-style public sector sites.
Through the MEP programme, a wide range of insights and tools were developed to guide public sector organisations through the decarbonisation process. Energy Systems Catapult, supported by BEIS, have made these available to public sector organisations and the wider supply chain.
The Challenge – Why MEP?
In addition to legally binding targets to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2035 and achieve Net Zero by 2050, the UK Government committed in the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point Plan to reduce direct emissions from public sector buildings by at least 50% by 2032 against a 2017 baseline. More recently, the Net Zero Strategy set the aim to reduce direct emissions from public sector buildings by 75% against a 2017 baseline by the end of Carbon Budget 6 (2037).
Meeting these aims will require scaled delivery across the public sector. To drive efficiency and value for money it was identified that a repeatable approach incorporating whole systems thinking should be developed through MEP.
The Solution – What did MEP do?
MEP developed scalable, replicable methodologies for the decarbonisation of campus-style sites based on the experience gained from a testbed of 42 sites, where three aspects of decarbonisation were tested. They were:
Rapid deployment of sub-metering and data analysis;
The creation of Concept Designs that offered each site a decarbonisation pathway;
Taking forward some no-regret measures on site.
By following this methodology sites across the public sector can benefit from the learnings of MEP and develop robust decarbonisation plans. The scale of MEP across 42 sites also presented learnings around different delivery routes, and the capacity and skills required.