We're supporting a large County Council towards their net zero carbon emissions goal

If you've set your own net zero carbon target, read our blog below on how we helped a county council work towards theirs with our carbon descent plan.

Posted on Sep 23, 2021

A large County Council committed to a net zero carbon emissions target for their own estate by 2030. To support their approach LASER was asked to provide practical and technical support to deliver a planned and costed approach to Councillors.

LASER recommended undertaking the following key steps in order to produce a Carbon Descent Plan:

Scoped out current ‘own estate’ emissions considering principles of Greenhouse Gas Protocol (best recognised international standard), and proposed what sources should be included.
Considered which emissions sources data is currently available for and which will need data collection processes establishing to allow measuring and modelling of the data going forwards.
Forecast future Business As Usual emissions to 2050 based on government published forecasts e.g. including much more renewable electricity (nationally) in the future.
Listed options to consider to take the Council from the business as usual emissions to the zero carbon target.
Modelled at high level the capital costs, carbon savings and financial benefits of a set of options.

Scoping the project

After an initial meeting and follow up calls to agree the scope to be applied to the target and action plan LASER drew up the following scope summary:

Carbon Footprint and Business As Usual Forecast

Once the scope was agreed LASER collected all relevant data and calculated the carbon footprint. Modelling was then carried out to forecast Business As Usual emissions. This created a forecast of future emissions based on current Council and Government policy.

graph showing various lines and charts for a forecast

The Actions Taken

LASER met regularly with Council officers in order to create a list of potential actions which could be carried out in order to substantially reduce their emissions. LASER then modelled the actions and proposed a mixed scale in order to meet the target at the lowest cost.

The actions included in the modelling were:


  • Reduce business miles travelled by 33% by 2030.
  • 70% of business miles to be via electric vehicle by 2030.
  • Reduce fleet mileage by 10%.
  • 80% of fleet miles to be via electric vehicle by 2030.

Energy Efficiency

Roll out LED Lighting in all building where practicable.

Electricity Generation

Install solar PV on roofs of 16 or more corporate buildings. 

Estate Rationalisation

Reduce buildings estate by 35% by 2030.

Reduce Heating Emissions

  • Build town centre renewable heat network.
  • Switch remaining oil boilers to gas.
  • Move 30% of gas heating to heat pumps.

Carbon Offsetting

Offset remaining emissions from 2030 onwards through an offset scheme.

Other options were listed and may be modelled in a further iteration of the action plan:

  • Offshore Wind (either as investment in or Power Purchase Agreement).
  • Greater ambition on switching heating from gas to electric or hydrogen.
  • Tree planting to offset emissions.
  • Hydrogen fuelled transport.

Modelling for the Action Plan

LASER created a forecast of Greenhouse Gas emissions based on the included options. The initial profile was created below (note the negative section of the graph results from generating more electricity than the Council uses and utilising a carbon offset scheme).

graph showing bar charts at various heights

Investment Costing

LASER created a high level cost model for the recommended options, this included a payback/savings estimation for each option, from which an initial cashflow chart was generated. The key options selected for the modelling have been selected because they provide a high carbon saving and a net positive financial return.

Initial Cashflow model below:

graph with greens and browns to show an example of financial forecasting

Key Points

  • Total Capital investment around £27M.
  • Capital cost of 2030 target may be fully recovered by 2030.
  • Significant net positive cash return over long term.

The Action Plan and Delivery

The steps listed above provide the key elements of a strategy document which can be put to decision makers in order to communicate the scale of the opportunity and investment required. As well as providing the modelling and action planning, LASER have a suite of procurement frameworks which can be utilised to deliver the chosen actions, whether these be buying green energy or leasing electric fleet vehicles.

The Next Steps

If you are interested in finding our more about how we can help your Zero Carbon journey you can visit our Zero Carbon services here or get in contact with a member of our team below.

Contact Us