Essex (UK)

Essex County Council Living Lab will accelerate the empowerment of local communities to become active energy users as the UK and Europe transition to a low carbon and decentralised energy market.

This will see the implementation of a demonstration project in two public buildings on the Council Estate. The living lab will identify the most commercially and technically viable combination of energy generation, energy efficiency retrofit and energy storage on the two sites.

The main objective is to reduce the buildings carbon footprint, but the solution proposed should also reduce running costs and reliance on energy from the grid. These projects will allow the Council and communities to explore new opportunities in the energy market, as a consumer and generator of energy.

This project will also accelerate carbon reduction in the UK’s public sector by piloting new energy technologies and business models. Public sector bodies have a significant carbon footprint, sizeable associated energy bills which are getting bigger every year and most importantly the ability to extend their influence beyond their own estate and operations throughout whole communities. The successful implementation of this pilot will provide the foundation for roll out similar projects across Essex’s 450 schools, 74 libraries and other public buildings, contributing significantly to the reduction of carbon emission and empowerment of community energy.

By taking communities through the whole journey ECC will have an on-going platform to advise citizens in the benefits of owning and utilising low carbon and renewable technologies whilst facilitating the community to take power and ownership in the shift to a decentralised energy market.

To complete this we will incorporate targeted engagement techniques in order to engage the broad demographic of members found in all communities; from school children to the elderly, businesses and community organisations.