In our efforts to make East Ayrshire a zero carbon area for energy we've pledged to:
Reduce the consumption of energy, promote energy efficiency and increase the proportion of power and heat from low and zero carbon technologies.
Energy in our buildings
We’re making sure that all our new buildings use zero carbon heating systems and have a clear pathway to being zero carbon by 2030.
41% of our total carbon footprint at East Ayrshire Council comes from energy emissions from our own buildings.
To cut those emissions we will:
- reduce the number of buildings we run, by introducing smarter working practices and encouraging those who can work from home to do so where possible
- adopt a shared services and digital first approach, to cut the need for multiple public facing offices
- focus on the electrification of heat. or biomass fuels where electrification proves impractical, as part of our capital programme to replace fossil fuel-driven heating systems
- take a “fabric first” approach, maximising insulation and using solar and other technologies to cut energy demand and make buildings as energy efficient as possible
- assess every building we run to find the most suitable route to carbon neutrality for that building. We’ve joined a working party to develop our plans with these organisations:
- Scottish Futures Trust
- Passivhaus Trust
- Edinburgh City Council
- Glasgow City Council
- pilot renewable technologies, including solar and smart storage technologies, heat pumps and load shifting control systems
- look at the areas around our buildings to see whether we can make use of energy from waterways, waste water and green spaces
- explore the emerging potential of “green hydrogen” as an alternative to natural gas
- retrofit older buildings with new energy efficient systems
Biomass at the Barony Campus video
A biomass system was installed at the Barony Campus in Cumnock.
Carbon emissions and energy demand
By looking at how we heat, light and power our buildings and examining how they’re built, the materials we use, and the energy systems we install, we will both cut the energy demands and the emissions of those buildings.
By changing our work practices and sharing accommodation with other services and organisations, we can refit and repurpose some buildings, making them more thermally efficient, while others may be sold or demolished.
If we demolish a building we will look carefully at what materials can be recovered, recycled or re-used to cut waste going to landfill.
Whenever we design or commission a new building or refurbishment, we will consider how to minimise waste during deconstruction at the end of its life.
Green Heat in Green Spaces (GHIG)
Green spaces (and even areas such as tarmac car parks) are ideal for the installation of ground or water source heat pumps. Public buildings which demand the most heat include:
- leisure centres (especially those with swimming pools)
- schools and early childhood centres
- care homes
- higher education institutions
Many of these are adjacent to suitable spaces including grassed areas (such as sports pitches) or car parks, which offer suitable conditions for installing closed loop ground collectors.
A large green site space can generate as much as 100% of the heat needed for a nearby public building or supply a local network.
Wind and solar
With windfarms such as Whitelee and Hare Hill windfarms already in the area, and further windfarm development planned, East Ayrshire currently has the capacity to generate 90% more energy than we can use locally. Although this excess energy should be fed into the national grid, at times of peak production, the national grid cannot cope with the amount of energy being transmitted which often means these turbines are switched off.
Our Community Renewable Energy (CoRE) project research into battery storage, and formation of local supply grids, will help us maximise the uptake and efficiency of the rich energy source on our doorstep, to create a more effective match between supply and demand in future.
Through our planning processes, and with our CoRE demonstrator houses, we will also encourage greater uptake of photovoltaic solar panels in construction and retrofit.
One strand of the CoRE project research will look at using excess wind energy to produce hydrogen, which can be stored and then converted to energy during times of peak demand or for powering vehicles. This will enable East Ayrshire’s buildings and vehicles to become totally fuelled by renewable energy.
As an area once powered by the coal industry, the remains of those works will again become productive with the potential for heat extraction from old coal bings, deep mine workings and water filled voids. All of this provides an opportunity to extract clean power from these former industrial sites.
The UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund supported “ HotScot”, run by University of Strathclyde, in partnership with other universities, the British Geological Survey, Coal Authority, Scottish Enterprise, and Ramboll. It is one of 17 major projects being funded throughout the UK to tap into the geothermal energy in disused coal mines. One of those pilot programmes will focus on the former East Ayrshire coalfields.
Housing - New affordable homes video
Domestic carbon consumption accounts for 31% of the East Ayrshire area’s emissions. To help us get to net zero we all need to shift away from gas heating systems.
The Scottish Government’s ‘Housing to 2040’ is Scotland’s first long-term national housing strategy.
It sets an ambition for everyone to have access to a warm, safe, affordable and energy efficient home that meets their needs, in a community they feel part of and proud of. It aims to help everyone have more energy efficient homes that use zero emissions heating systems, adapted to meet the needs of the householder, within the context of climate change actions, place-based approaches and an overall well-functioning housing system.
We'll produce a new Housing Standard for all homes, both new and existing, to meet the same quality standards and reach zero emissions, regardless of whether a property is owned or rented. Our housing policy,decision making and actions will very much be driven by these new standards and the necessary funding that will be required to support implementation.
Our current Council housing stock is almost 100% compliant with the Scottish Housing Quality Standards and Energy Efficient Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) standards. We’re now working towards meeting the more challenging EESSH2 standards (PDF 292Kb). This contains key milestones to further reduce the carbon footprint of our own housing stock as we work towards a target to become carbon neutral by 2040. The new standards mean:
- from 31 December 2025 no social housing should be re-let below EPC Band D
- by end of 31 December 2032, all social housing meets, or can be treated as meeting, EPC Band B, or is as energy efficient as practically possible
- by 2040 poor energy efficiency has been removed as a driver for fuel poverty and all social housing is carbon neutral as far as reasonably practical
Our role as landlords
By making our housing stock and public buildings more energy efficient, we’re also cutting our own and our tenants’ costs long-term, helping to keep more money available in the local economy for other priorities.
Although retrofitting with better insulation, windows, doors and non-carbon based heating systems also means higher initial costs, in line with the Scottish Futures Trust Whole Life Appraisal, making the right decisions can actually lessen the long-term costs.
The appraisal gives local authorities a consistent tool with which to measure, compare and report the costs of materials and processes involved in both new builds and renovation during the design, construction, operation and disposal phases of any building. By adopting this tool, and creating a new Housing Standard for all our housing stock, whether older or new build properties, we will be able to fulfil our ambition to give everyone:
- a warm, safe, affordable and energy efficient home of which they can be proud
- access to housing that meets all their needs to support comfortable, independent living from cradle to grave
Together with EESSH, for 2020/21 we’ve been awarded Home Energy Efficiency Programme Scotland (HEEPS) funding of £1.4m which we’re using to help 160 private owners of housing where we’re carrying out area-based energy efficiency improvement programmes.
For 2021/22 we’ve been allocated £1.45m from the HEEPS fund which we’ll use to continue to combat fuel poverty through energy saving measures.
Our Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) (PDF 771Kb) for new build developments specifies that new housing will be built to Silver Standard of the Building Regulations 2011 for Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Energy for Space Heating.
Working with the Council’s Developer and learning from CoRE, our Housing Asset Services will develop and pilot a net zero housing model using off-site manufacture and adopting a fabric-first approach to create more energy efficient Council homes in response to our sustainability, climate change and fuel poverty reduction targets.
We’re also running a pilot Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy (LHEES) which will focus on South Central Kilmarnock and North West Kilmarnock. The information gathered from this pilot will help us create a long-term framework for planning and changing heating methods from carbon to non-carbon based technologies in areas with high demand.
Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy (LHEES)
The Scottish Government’s The Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy (LHEES) supports a place-based, locally led and tailored approach to heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency using a framework to address how each local authority in Scotland will reduce their energy demand and decarbonise the heat supply of buildings in their area. This analysis will help what needs to happen to move towards low emission heating across all buildings in our communities.
LHEES will also form a basis for local public engagement and will become a statutory requirement for local authorities in 2022. Every local authority must complete a LHEES for their area by the end of 2023.
In East Ayrshire we’re building on our early pilot work undertaken in this area to finalise our own LHEES. The data we gather through our LHEES will help us prioritise our future actions on the path to net zero.