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Highland Council buildings to be assessed for energy performance

By Gordon Calder

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A PLAN to assess the energy performance of Highland Council's properties will help the local authority achieve its net zero goals.

Members of the climate change committee backed the proposal which will identify building upgrade opportunities that can reduce expenditure by lowering energy and operating costs and facilitate improvement by evaluating performance over time. It could also result in investment in buildings to improve energy efficiency.

Energy use benchmarking as the project is called compares the energy use of a building or group of buildings with other similar structures and looks at how energy use varies.

Highland Council says the initiative is "an important move forward" and while it does not directly reduce energy consumption, it does provide "the informed basis for justification of either behaviour change or investment in remedial works to realise savings in costs and energy."

The project team will use the Scottish Public Sector Energy Benchmarking Tool, developed and published earlier this year, and carry out an evaluation of energy performance for all main properties within Highland Council property estate.

A report is due to be completed by March 2023.

The committee is chaired by Thurso councillor, Karl Rosie.
The committee is chaired by Thurso councillor, Karl Rosie.

Karl Rosie, the Thurso and northwest Caithness councillor, who chairs the climate change committee, said: "The availability of accurate and up to date information allows to more effectively consider property management matters. Further it also allows us to identify where improvements can be made to our estate to help us realise our Net Zero goals. As such we are appreciative of the work undertaken to date and look forward to receiving the analysis in due course."

Climate change is the long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. Some of it may be cyclical but since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, which produce carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.

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