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Green Deal needs community approach to energy efficiency

Carillion is working with Birmingham City Council on the Birmingham Energy Savers scheme, which aims to improve the energy and carbon efficiency of up to 60,000 homes.

Reducing emissions from existing buildings is a critical aspect of the government’s plan to fulfil its carbon reduction commitments – with the long awaited Green Deal pitched to achieve these aims.

Community engagement vital for Green Deal

Although the scheme is still in its infancy, it’s clear that engaging with the wider community to adopt and maintain energy-efficiency upgrades will be vital to its success.

“The supply chain had to grow with the overall BES programme and leave a lasting impression on the city”

Birmingham Energy Savers is embracing this concept and is committed to delivering energy savings as part of the Green Deal. 

Recognising that success will be driven by a local and community-based model, Carillion is working with Birmingham City Council as delivery partner for Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation to improve the energy and carbon efficiency of up to 60,000 households across the city, together with schools and other non-domestic public buildings. 

SME and local supply chain involvement

The strength of the delivery lies in working with communities, the supply chain, local small businesses and social enterprises: the whole model is built around SME engagement and local supply chain initiatives.

This includes a strong focus on supplier development, looking particularly at helping and encouraging small organisations that want to be involved in Green Deal.

It also provides opportunities for local people to begin apprenticeships and develop their skills for a lifetime of work in the industry.

“Taking a community-based approach that actively involves local people and businesses is vital to creating long-term change”

The supply chain had to grow with the overall BES programme and leave a lasting impression on the city.

By working and engaging with the supply chain and community, the scheme will deliver a very local solution, which intends to leave as much economic and social value as possible in Birmingham.

Commitment to creating jobs

It is against this backdrop that Carillion has committed to creating and sustaining at least 360 jobs through its own investment and skills training – and to generate many more employment opportunities by encouraging its business partners to invest locally in a range of new and green energy facilities.

Birmingham City Council chief executive Steven Hughes said the scheme “is probably the single most important thing that Birmingham City Council will do for a while to stimulate the local economy both in terms of creating jobs and producing opportunities for businesses”.

Taking a community-based approach that actively involves local people and businesses, inspiring them to engage with energy-efficiency and carbon-reduction goals, is vital to creating long-term change. 

The model at BES aims to bring about real cultural and business behavioural changes within Birmingham by activating all levels of the supply chain to this common purpose.

Chris Hall is Carillion account director for the Birmingham Energy Savers scheme.

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