How North Northamptonshire Council Accelerated its Net Zero Journey with Compass: Engine™
Electric Places worked with North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) to assist the region’s journey to net zero. The project, North Northamptonshire to Net Zero (NN2NZ), sought to rapidly sift and prioritise the various policies the region could implement to accelerate carbon neutrality and clean growth in the area.
To improve the decision-making process of NN2NZ, Electric Places pursued a digital-first approach for more holistic insight, and an improved decision-making process into the impact and value of net zero options available. As a result, Electric Places selected Slingshot Simulations as their digital solution provider.
Over six months, both companies worked together to use Slingshot Simulations’ place-based decision intelligence platform, Compass: Engine™, to create a digital twin of North Northamptonshire to support the NN2NZ project. This partnership combined Slingshot Simulations’ unique technology, net zero purposes and passion with Electric Places’ experience in sustainable solutions. Together, they delivered insight and understanding to improve North Northamptonshire’s climate resilience, net zero and decarbonisation initiative.
NNC is the governing body for the region of North Northamptonshire, with a population of c350,000 people in a mix of large market towns and smaller villages. NNC has declared a climate emergency and adopted goals to become a carbon-neutral council by 2030, alongside the nation’s goal of being net zero by 2050.
NNC proposed the following:
- Reduce emissions to lessen the impact of climate change;
- Adapt to the current and future effects of climate change;
- Raise awareness in communities of the causes and consequences of climate change
NNC embedded these goals into the NN2NZ project, where Electric Places took charge as sustainability consultants. Electric Places (formerly called Electric Corby) plans, supports and implements net zero projects for energy use, building design and mobility. Helping both the public and private sector, Electric Places enable successful transitions to net zero for organisations across the UK.
Speed – The Challenge Local Councils Face
How local councils respond to the climate emergency across regions varies as they work to meet local needs alongside their climate goals. Despite these diverse responses, all regions share a similar challenge – time. The speed of sifting, assessing and prioritising practical and affordable interventions for net zero is critical, and must be acted on quickly before it is too late.
However, councils face significant technological, political and financial uncertainties and a myriad of potential competing options that limit them from making a decision quickly. As a result, a considerable gap exists between the high-level policy statements and the consensus-based commissioning of detailed design and implementation of specific projects.
To help bridge this gap, NNC and Electric Places sought a more robust analytics framework. One that could not only assist with faster decision-making, but also help to:
- Create a holistic view across hundreds of disparate data sets;
- Prioritise sustainable interventions at a granular, region-specific level;
- Assess the future impacts of interventions on the area;
- Forecast the scale and impact of interventions over time against the CO2 gap;
- Engage key stakeholders, such as the public and policymakers, in the decision-making process
80% Faster – Why Electric Places Choose Slingshot Simulations
Slingshot Simulations’ place-based decision intelligence solution, Compass: Engine™, was selected because it excelled in the requirements of what the NN2NZ project needed.
Compass: Engine™ offered advanced functions such as:
- Integrated data sets that were required to evaluate intervention options spanning energy, land and building use and mobility;
- Automatic intervention impact analysis and reporting using carbon conversion factors (UK Government data and Electric Places’ region-specific conversions);
- Multimode mobility simulations to predict the impact on emissions of future fleets and the implementation of hypothetical changes to regions of interest, such as low emissions zones;
- Comparative analysis for rapid sifting and prioritisation of interventions;
- Visualisations and storytelling through data to engage a broader set of stakeholders
Compass: Engine™ offers unique features developed over a decade of foundational research. This platform eliminates the manual effort to source and prepare disparate data for analysis. It automates analytics to evaluate the impact of interventions, all while running simulations to predict future scenarios.
Compass: Engine™’s powerful capabilities accelerate the decision-making process by up to 80% by delivering insight and analysis based on data and science-backed approaches.
How Compass: Engine™ Helped the NN2NC Project
In the NN2NC project, Compass: Engine™ helped with the following:
1. Aggregating Data
By default, Compass: Engine™ includes land use mapping using open street maps, DNO, traffic count data, EPC and census data. As well as these advanced data sets, Electric Places added their proprietary data, such as detailed regional solar panel installations.
2. Analysing Data
Data-driven decisions are founded on analytics and insight. Compass: Engine™ transformed a complex and somewhat siloed, Excel-based modelling approach into an accessible analytical framework able to predict and simulate future impact in a geospatial, location-specific and temporal context.
In addition, the analytics were extended beyond the boundaries of many traditional approaches by including scenarios for EV mobility and transportation simulation, home heating and insulation and energy mix changes over time.
3. Interpreting and Visualising Data
Compass: Engine™ transforms aggregated data into insights with visualisation, analysis and simulation. Offering complete flexibility, Compass: Engine™ allowed Electric Places to present scenario output in various ways depending on stakeholder needs. This insight was presented in heat maps, charts, maps and 3D visualisations to aid decision-making and storytelling through data.
Slingshot Simulation’s digital twin, and decision intelligence platform, allowed Electric Places and North Northamptonshire Council to forecast, analyse, sift and prioritise net zero interventions for transport, building, energy and more.
NNC’s digital twin is a living, dynamic solution that continues to evolve as more application areas are added. It is substantially more time, resource and cost-scalable than discrete projects where the core deliverable is a static report, often in a PDF format.
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