Low Carbon Technology Costs Data: Estimating the total cost of low carbon technology deployment

Nick Hay, Data Scientist, Advanced Infrastructure

In the face of significant funding cuts, the cost-of-living crisis and rising challenges from COVID-19, many businesses, councils and energy providers can struggle to prioritise decarbonisation initiatives.

Deploying low carbon technologies (LCTs) and energy-efficient building retrofits such as heat pumps, rooftop PV and insulation inevitably requires an understanding of where capital will need to be focused and the amount required.

Historically, understanding the true cost of deploying LCTs at a regional level would have required skilled resources, labour intensive surveying, planning capabilities and access to thousands of building and socio-economic data points.

In this blog, we unpack the basics of Low Carbon Technology (LCT) Costs Data, how it can be used to estimate the total cost of deploying LCTs at building and regional levels and support funding applications, long term planning, carbon reduction targets as well as economic development.


What is Low Carbon Technology Costs Data?

LCT costs data provides an estimate of the total cost, material cost and labour cost for installing low-carbon technologies into a given property (removing the manual requirement for each property to have costs quoted for individually).

One of the primary advantages of understanding the costs of installing LCTs is the ability for LCT solution providers and local authorities to make informed decisions based on the financial implications.

How is Low Carbon Technology Costs Data calculated?

At Advanced Infrastructure we calculate LCT costs using a specific building’s geometry, energy demand and electricity generation where applicable from an initial per unit cost.

The cost of each asset to be installed is calculated based on the size and suitability of that building. To use a couple of examples, the cost of installing a heat pump is calculated based on our Domestic Heat Demand Dataset and for the cost of installing solar PV the calculation is based on the Rooftop PV Potential Dataset through the use of our GIS and building physics models to model the requirements of the building. 

How is Low Carbon Technology Costs Data Visualised?

LCT costs data when used in the LAEP+ platform enables the data to be visualised down to building level with the use of interactive geospatial maps and charts to easily filter and analyse. The image below shows how a user can visualise the LCT costs dataset in a given region and select individual properties to analyse the costs associated with deploying the likes of Air Source Heat Pumps, Rooftop PV and Insulation. In this instance a filter is set to visualise the total cost of rooftop PV deployment per property with a colour scale representing properties ranging between the lowest cost to deploy Rooftop PV and highest cost to deploy Rooftop PV. Green represents the lowest cost and red represents the highest cost to deploy Rooftop PV.

By understanding the cost to deploy LCTs in a given property or region, this dataset can be overlaid with complementary datasets such as the domestic heat demand dataset as shown below.

When overlaying complementary datasets such as domestic heat demand, this can provide insight into which properties would benefit the most from having low carbon technologies installed and provide an estimated cost. 

In shortlisting suitable properties based on objectives such as tackling fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions, this can be combined with other supporting datasets that can then inform decarbonisation plans, and generate an estimate as to the overall project cost. This in turn can provide an evidence based business case for grant funding and attracting investment.

When using the LCT costs data in the LAEP+ platform, users have the ability run assessments on both individual and groups of properties to calculate estimated costs as shown in the image below which in this instance estimates a cost of the total labour and material costs of deploying rooftop PV.

In addition to the deployment of LCTs providing more energy-efficient homes, it is important to measure the long term carbon savings that these upgrades and retrofits can have in a region and individual properties over time, evidencing the requirement for the spend in budget.  In the image below, a user of the LAEP+ platform is able to go one step further and visualise the impact of deploying a low carbon technology within a specific property and the carbon savings up to a 15 year time period.

How can Low Carbon Technology Cost Data be used to accelerate the deployment of LCTs?

When the cost of installing LCTs is known at a regional level it can enable public sector decision makers to focus their efforts on deployment based on the cost-effectiveness. 

LCT costs data can guide and accelerate research and development efforts, supporting the identification of areas where cost reductions are needed and where innovations can have the most significant impact.

This can lead to funding and grants being approved at a much quicker pace with the evidence to back up business cases along with rapid resource allocation due to the precise triaging of specific properties.

For the private sector, LCT costs data can significantly cut time spent on site and carrying out initial property surveys. This enables businesses such as Heat Pump Installers, to reduce the uncertainty around technology investments aligning their business with regulatory requirements and customer demands.

Without the right information, planners risk leaving some residents behind, spending excessively, losing revenues and wasting time on excessive physical assessments.  

Access to granular LCT costs data is now available and can support planners to identify the priority properties, avoid wasted effort, collaborate with key stakeholders and evidence the siting of low carbon technologies.

Collaborating and consulting across stakeholders to ensure optimum deployment of energy efficiency improvement plans is a big challenge without the right data and the digital tools to visualise those plans 

Key outcomes of utilising Low Carbon Technology Costs Data

1. Informed Decision-Making:

Access to low carbon technology cost data allows local authorities to make informed decisions when planning and implementing decarbonisation projects. They can compare the costs of different technologies and select the most cost-effective options, ensuring that public funds are used efficiently.

2. Funding Applications:

When seeking external funding for sustainability projects, local authorities can use LCT costs data to support grant applications. Many funding bodies require detailed cost assessments, and having this data readily available can increase the chances of securing financial support.

3. Economic Development:

The adoption of low carbon technologies can stimulate local economic development by creating jobs and attracting investment in the renewable energy sector. Local authorities can use costs data to demonstrate the economic benefits of such investments to their communities.

4. Long-Term Planning:

Costs data provides local authorities with the ability to plan for the long term. They can develop strategies for the gradual transition to low carbon technologies, ensuring a sustainable and resilient energy infrastructure.

5. Carbon Reduction Targets:

Access to costs data helps local authorities set realistic carbon reduction targets. They can use this data to calculate the expected savings and emissions reductions associated with the deployment of specific low carbon technologies.

Where can I access Low Carbon Technology Costs Data?

At Advanced Infrastructure our innovative GIS tools, datasets and APIs are making it easier for private companies, local authorities, distribution network operators and consultants to plan local energy transitions and operate using low carbon power. Low Carbon Technology Costs Data is just one dataset in our GIS tool belt that can be combined with our cloud based net zero planning platform LAEP+ (Local Area Energy Planner Plus), or as a stand alone dataset available as an API or exportable file format. For more information or to arrange a free demo of the data in our LAEP+ platform you can get in touch with us by using the contact form below.

Published on :
November 30, 2023
Nick Hay, Data Scientist, Advanced Infrastructure

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Nick Hay
Nick Hay