Brent Council is happily advertising a fall in its carbon footprint of 11.3%, but it would be nice to have a better idea of what this means. The figures appear to come from this report, although I am not sure why they are press released now. The report itself is plain that different measures are in use, and the whole area can get quite confusing.
What about Schools?
The figures Brent are highlighting exclude schools, aside from "bulge" schools using Council buildings. Were schools to be included, it would probably double the building amount of emissions. Moreover, given the growing number of school places being provided, that element of the emissions might be going up. Offseting the sheer rise in numbers and the quantity of buildings, there has been a long standing programme to make schools more energy efficient, partly through insisting on high environmental standards at new buildings, and partly through retrofitting technology on existing buildings.
Brent Civic Centre
The building element is the main reducing element, seeing a fall of more than 25% from 2013/14 to 2015/16. That is from 7,246 to 5,770 tonnes CO2e. The main contributor to this will be Brent Civic Centre. As a BREEAM outstanding building, the Civic Centre has an excellent performance in both carbon emissions and in other ways.
The building started to receive staff part way into 2013, which is being used as the baseline for these numbers, but it will have taken time to get a full year effect. Partly, this is the result of staff only moving in from June 2013; partly it will be because the full benefits only became apparent as staff got used to the new ways of working. Finally, it took time for Council staff to move out from some of the older buildings such as Brent House, so the carbon emissions will only have ceased once those disposed of.
Other Council Buildings
Brent Council will also have benefited from investment elsewhere. The new Willesden Library had a much improved carbon performance compared to the old one. Brent Council has also done some retorfitting of older buildings such as Kilburn Library, although I have explained elsewhere that this is not as good as having somewhere new.
The diminishing proportion of carbon emissions coming from buildings means that further big fall will have to come from street lighting, as I have argued before.