How we're supporting energy efficiency in Bristol buildings and providing low carbon heat.

Almost two thirds of Bristol's direct carbon emissions come from heating and powering its buildings.

Over half of homes need energy efficiency improvements, such as insulation, to reduce the amount of energy they use to a reasonable level.

One City Climate Strategy target for Bristol buildings

The One City Climate Strategy set out that:

  • new buildings need to be carbon neutral and climate resilient
  • the energy performance of existing buildings in the city must be improved to minimise the need for heating
  • all buildings in the city need to be resilient to climate change, for instance to prevent overheating through making changes to buildings, such as adding shading and ventilation

Heat decarbonisation target

The One City Climate Strategy states that, to decarbonise heating, around 160,000 boilers need to be replaced across the city.

Decarbonising heating means heating our buildings without the use of gas or electricity made using fossil fuel, for example by:

  • heat pumps powered by renewable energy
  • connecting to our district heat network

Bristol needs around 65,000 buildings to connect to district heat networks Go to (opens new window) in the future. This would leave around 95,000 buildings needing individual heat pumps.

Our buildings

We have direct control over the buildings we own and use to deliver our services, such as our office buildings and work depots.

We're responsible for maintaining and making energy efficiency improvements to:

  • the 28,659 council homes we manage
  • some schools
  • some commercial buildings

We don't control how the heating and hot water are used in these buildings.

We have very limited powers or funding to support homeowners and commercial building owners across the city. Our Energy efficiency at home, solar panels and heat pump pages offer advice and information.

How we've supported energy efficiency in buildings so far

We've helped over 2,000 private and council-owned homes become warmer and healthier through upgrades to their energy efficiency. We brought the average Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of over 28,000 homes we own to EPC C or above.

We started building a district heat network Go to (opens new window), a new network of underground pipes that will deliver affordable, low-carbon heat and energy across the city.

Over 25 buildings are currently connected to the network. A 3 megawatt water source heat pump is operating at Castle Park, providing heat to the heat network. This is the largest water source heat pump in the UK.

We've also:

  • installed energy efficiency measures and solar panels which people did not need to pay for (grant funded) in over 100 low-income homes, through our Bright Green Homes Scheme
  • led the Heat Decarbonisation theme of the One City Climate Strategy (the part of the strategy relating to heating buildings from sources that are neither gas, or electricity generated by burning coal or gas) and appointed a Project Manager to deliver it
  • commissioned pdf research to better understand the motivations and needs of homeowners (241 KB)  whose properties were in need of retrofit measures and who can pay for them
  • commissioned the Climate Resilient Estate project to describe how all the buildings we own could be climate resilient by 2030

How we'll support energy efficiency in buildings in the future

We've created the City Leap Energy Partnership to attract £1 billion of investment in the city's energy system.

Over the first 5 years, this will attract £424 million investment and avoid around 140,000 tonnes of carbon emissions across the city.

The City Leap partnership will deliver energy efficiency measures to the buildings we use, including:

  • renewable electricity generation, for example solar photovoltaic panels, solar thermal panels and wind turbines
  • decarbonisation projects

It will also deliver energy efficiency and renewable energy measures to our social housing. This will cut the energy bills of our tenants and reduce emissions.

Through City Leap, we'll continue to expand our district heat networks at

  • Redcliffe
  • Old Market
  • Bedminster
  • Temple
  • Ashton Gate
  • City Centre
  • Frome Gateway
  • Spike Island

This will help more buildings to be heated using low carbon heat. Watch a video about district heat networks.

We're developing our Local Plan and related planning policies to require:

  • Zero Carbon Housing
  • homes that are adapted to cope with future climate change

As part of our £97 million commitment to making the homes we own more energy efficient, we'll make sure all our Council housing reaches a minimum EPC rating of C by 2030.

We'll review all the buildings we own and use to make sure we have the right amount and quality of workspaces, including:

  • local authority maintained schools
  • care homes
  • community centres
  • museums
  • the registry office
  • depots
  • libraries
  • changing rooms in parks

City Leap will provide energy efficiency measures, renewables and decarbonisation projects to the buildings we own.

We will continue to deliver grant funded energy efficiency measures and install solar panels for households on a low-income through our Bright Green Homes scheme.

We'll also:

  • install ground and air source heat pumps to provide low carbon heating to over 400 new homes we'll build
  • increase the use of Modern Methods of Construction to build new sustainable low carbon homes
  • approach close to net zero emissions on several small sites developed as part of the Bristol Housing festival
  • continue to enforce Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for private rented accommodation (Energy Performance Certificate E)
  • offer low interest energy efficiency loans to homeowners and private landlords

We've developed a new system to make sure everything we build can be:

  • low carbon
  • climate resilient
  • makes space for nature

We're piloting this on several projects and hope to use it more widely.