In 2019, direct greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from buildings sat at 87 Mt CO2e, accounting for 17 per cent of total UK GHG emissions that year. Today, these buildings account for as much as 30 per cent of GHG emissions in the UK and decarbonisation is essential to align with the government’s net zero goals.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero is rolling out its plan to include digital representations of all buildings in a single database which will be used for research into energy use and carbon emissions to inform government policy.

The database, built by University College London, will outline the size, age, construction and energy performance of buildings including homes, offices, shops, warehouses, factories, schools and hospitals. The idea is that a comprehensive database containing this information will be able to accurately inform government policy on:

  • Improving energy efficiency to reduce energy costs
  • Reducing energy costs
  • Examining approaches to green retrofitting
  • Building a sustainable sector for the future
  • Investigating the potential for renewable energy technologies

The data within the database will be verified through telephone surveys by Winning Moves (part of GC Insight), and site audits by Verco and their partners. The model will then provide estimates of how energy use is split within properties, for example across heating, lighting, cooling etc. This breakdown should help gather a clearer understanding of what the most energy and carbon intensive systems within UK buildings are. Anyone contacted can opt in and out of both the telephone surveys or the onsite energy audits.

How will the site audits work?

As part of the data collection process, energy consultants will be conducting in-person onsite audits to understand the shape, size, occupancy, and energy use of the buildings they assess. The purpose of the audits is to match data from other sources with real world analyses and generate a deeper, more insightful understanding of the buildings in operation across the UK and how they are using energy.

Some site audits will be conducted upon request of the research team, but anyone can opt in to host a site audit.

Hosting an audit will ensure the data provided is accurate and of high quality. The audit will be conducted by a specialist and the end-result is a custom report with insights into your building’s use of energy. This could help inform your future decisions on green retrofit and onsite renewable energy projects.

If you’d like to apply for an energy audit, you can register your interest here.


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