During Oldham Energy Futures, the team developed neighbourhood profiles to decide on the neighbourhoods they would work with and gather all the relevant data to give them a full picture of the challenges faced in those places.
The neighbourhood profiles were developed because the team recognised that the energy transition is not just a technical challenge. Identifying the right technology, such as heat pumps and electric vehicle charging, and where they should be placed can only go some way to addressing the challenges faced when implementing transition interventions. Energy transition is also a social and economic challenge, and the delivery team wanted to develop a well-rounded understanding of the varying aspects influencing how the energy transition may be perceived and experienced to deliver a meaningful CLEP process. This is why the neighbourhood profiles developed for Oldham Energy Futures contained such a variety of data.
It may be useful for delivery teams to develop a neighbourhood profile for the area that are working with. This can be used to inform decision-making if there are multiple neighbourhoods they could deliver the CLEP in.
Making the most of available data sources can help the lead organisation to understand important characteristics of the neighbourhood and community before the workshop programme begins. Anyone compiling these statistics should be wary of drawing any conclusions or proposing possible solutions for the neighbourhood based on these data sets alone. Instead, the knowledge gathered can help the facilitators to share opportunities and pose questions around local values and preferences with the workshop participants.
In most cases, Oldham Energy Futures used ward level data sets as a proxy for the neighbourhood, due to the number of data sets available at this level. Data sources used for Oldham Energy Futures can be found here.
The data sets outlined below are those used for the Oldham Energy Futures neighbourhood profiles. Whilst it may be helpful to look into each of the areas outlined below to help to shape the CLEP process, it is important that the delivery team of other CLEP processes tailor their neighbourhood profile/s to address knowledge gaps, respond to local priorities and make the most of pre-existing data sets.
- Ward and postcode level territorial carbon footprint breakdown. This can provide an understanding of the relative carbon intensity of transport vs. household energy consumption within the neighbourhood. This is useful to identify whether buildings’ energy efficiency, heat, power or transport are a priority from a climate change perspective. Centre for Sustainable Energy’s Impact Tool was used in this analysis.
Oldham Energy Futures used this data in Community-Led Energy Action Plans to “set the scene” with regards to the challenges which need to be addressed in Sholver and Westwood in relation to reducing carbon emissions.
- Existing public transport links and cycle networks. This can help to demonstrate how easily local people can opt for lower carbon transportation options. Oldham Energy Futures used spatial cycle network mapping, bus stops and metro and rail stops, as well as public transportation service data to guide the team’s thinking. Transport for Greater Manchester and the Mapping GM tool were used.
- Green spaces. This can help the delivery team to understand how easily local people can opt for lower carbon transportation options that depend on green spaces, such as walking or cycling. Open Street maps was used to identify green spaces and the Mapping GM tool was used to identify existing public rights of way (identifying walking routes within and beyond the neighbourhood).
- Air quality. This is used to explore the relationship between motorised form of transport, like cars and trucks, and the impact on health outcomes. Oldham Energy Futures used the ‘Assess to Healthy Assets and Hazards (AHAH)’ data set from Consumer Data Research Centre Dataset to identify air quality problem spots.
Oldham Energy Futures used this data in the Community-Led Energy Action Plans to support key findings around the provision of existing infrastructure that supports or inhibits different travel modes in the neighbourhood, and the effects on travel emissions in the neighbourhood.
Home energy efficiency
- Building typologies (age and type of housing). Building typologies mapping can demonstrate how building fabric affects energy efficiency in the home and how advances in building technology contribute to increased energy efficiency (for example, many older homes were built with no insulation). The data can be used to show the correlation between age and energy efficiency of local housing stock, demonstrate how different building typologies have different form factors which affect the energy efficiency of the building and to identify properties of a similar type which may have similar issues which can help in grouping area-based retrofit measures. The baseline data for Oldham Energy Futures was developed by using Google Maps to identify and map clusters of similar building typologies, breaking them down by age and looking at the building form and features.
- Energy performance of homes. Oldham Energy Futures commissioned Climate Guide to undertake an analysis of EPC certificates for all address points in Oldham Borough for domestic buildings. This was used to create a dataset that showed recommended energy efficiency measures by Census Output Area for every part of the borough.
- Tenure of homes. Climate Guide also included this within their statistical analysis of EPCs in homes. Oldham Energy Futures used this information to break down the relative energy performance of homes between tenures.
Oldham Energy Futures used this data in the Community-Led Energy Action Plans to support key findings locating areas of housing stock with poor energy efficiency across the neighbourhood.
- Mapping existing renewable energy projects. This can provide an understanding of the existing popularity of renewable energy projects in the area. To do this the Oldham Energy Futures team hosted a walk around the local community and identified existing installed solar energy capacity. The team later created a map of the renewable energy sources mapped.
- Identifying complete renewable energy feasibility studies. This can be helpful to understand existing knowledge of renewable energy generation potential. Oldham Energy Futures worked with the local authority and local Net Zero Hub to understand this. The conversation could have been opened up to other supportive large land and asset owners operating within the neighbourhood. It is recommended to find out if there are any barriers to plausible sites identified as part of these conversations.
- Potential rooftop solar generation by building. Oldham Energy Futures commissioned Climate Guide to use the Centre for Sustainable Energy’s solar photovoltaic (PV) panels rooftop modelling tool to estimate the potential energy output from the installation of PV panels on the buildings within the wards housing the two neighbourhoods. The model includes an associated cost-benefit model which calculates the financial viability (through net present value and internal rate of return) of all potential PV installations. Together the two models aim to evaluate each section of roofing of each building in the area for the viability of a solar PV installation.
Oldham Energy Futures also used this data in the Community-led Energy Action Plans to identify potential renewable energy projects within the neighbourhoods and wider wards involved in the project.
- Existing community owned energy businesses. Oldham Council helped the Oldham Energy Futures team to identify Oldham Community Power, the only community owned renewable energy organisation present in Oldham. The delivery team decided to create a map of their existing sites to understand their proximity to the two chosen neighbourhoods. Use the “Power – Energy Infrastructure” layer to see how this was mapped.
- Investment rate of return for potential rooftop solar generation. As detailed above, Oldham Energy Futures commissioned Climate Guide to use the Centre for Sustainable Energy’s solar PV rooftop modelling tool. The financial viability calculated using NPV and IRR was used to explore which of the possible solar opportunities would be most viable for a community energy project.
To gain an understanding of the demographics of the neighbourhood, Oldham Energy Futures explored data on:
Oldham Council’s ward profiles were a useful source of information for these statistics. The UK government’s Wider Determinants of Health database can be useful to explore health issues in more detail.
Anchor organisations and community groups
- Supportive local authority/neighbourhood officers/councillors. A people mapping activity with Oldham Council and community leaders allowed the team to build up knowledge of key local stakeholders.
- Existence of anchor institutions with a particular focus on public sector land and property in the neighbourhood. This information can be helpful to define which organisations could play a role in supporting specific actions defined by the community groups. Oldham Energy Futures used the Mapping GM tool to gain an understanding of local authority owned land and assets. The team also developed a map of social housing concentrations based on data provided by Oldham Council.
- Identifying complete renewable energy feasibility studies. This can be helpful to build an understanding of existing knowledge of renewable energy generation potential in the neighbourhood. Oldham Energy Futures worked with the council to understand this. The conversation could have been opened up to other supportive anchor organisations operating within the neighbourhood. It is recommended to find out if there were any blocks to plausible sites identified as part of these conversations.
Local economic activity
- Existing buildings with solar or retrofit potential. Oldham Energy Futures used the Climate Guide solar and EPC analysis to guide understandings of which non-domestic buildings with a role in the local economy may have the potential to host solar or to benefit from retrofit measures.