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Report reveals vision to save millions in energy bills and create thousands of jobs in Bristol

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Press release issued: 29 October 2015

One of the lasting impacts of Bristol’s year as European Green Capital could be up to 10,000 new jobs, a collective saving of nearly £1million a day in the city’s energy bills and achieving a series of ambitious environmental targets, a report will reveal.

The report, ‘Our Resilient Energy Future’, presented to Bristol City Council’s Cabinet this week, outlines the huge economic and job creation potential from significant financial investment in low carbon opportunities.  Supporting research by the University of Bristol's Cabot Institute shows that investment over the next decade presents an opportunity for the city to save £200-300million on our energy bills and create 2,000-10,000 jobs.

George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol said: “This year was the result of many people working in their own areas and collectively on both small and large initiatives to make Bristol a greener city.  Bristol City Council has lead by example when it comes to energy use – reducing it by nearly 40 per cent in 10 years and achieving our target five years early.  But if we are going to realise our ambitions and truly make this city a better place to live for everyone – with cleaner air, warmer homes and higher quality of life – we must change how we use energy and this framework maps out the huge opportunities on our doorstep.”

The proposed new framework reveals updated interim targets for 2025 and 2035 and highlights the need for Bristol to go above and beyond business-as-usual trends to meet its target of reducing carbon emissions for the city by 40 per cent by 2020.  As a growing city it has reduced carbon emissions per person by 24 per cent.  The University of Bristol’s report ‘The Economics of Low Carbon Cities’ develops a robust model for assessing the costs and benefits of different levels of decarbonisation at a city region scale.

Researchers have used data from a wide range of sources on the potential energy, cost and carbon savings from hundreds of low carbon measures.  It takes into account changes in the economy and the wider energy infrastructure but focuses on the potential for even more energy efficiency measures and small-scale renewables.

Mayor Ferguson adds: “Making Bristol a low carbon city will not only improve our environment, it will improve quality of life and make sound economic sense through the creation of thousands of new jobs.  In 2015 we’ve continued the good work so far, demonstrated by the unveiling of the award-winning and highly energy efficient Filwood Green Business Park in May.  We now need to build on that determination to deal with energy efficiency, which helps people’s pockets; with air quality, boosting our health; and green growth that creates jobs.”

Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol said: “We are delighted that we have been able to provide evidence that shows how Bristol can accelerate its progress towards becoming a low carbon city.  For us, this is an important way of ensuring a long term impact from Bristol’s year as European Green Capital.  We hope that this study helps everyone across the city – in the city council, in the business community and in all communities in the city – to make the most of the very significant opportunities presented by investment in a low carbon future.”

Further information

About the University of Bristol and European Green Capital

The University of Bristol is proud to be part of a city-wide initiative to make Bristol a world leader in sustainability as part of its designation as European Green Capital 2015. Contributing to the collective efforts of 800+ organisations, the University is hosting a series of events, seminars and public debates that build on its long-standing ambition to generate knowledge that will shape a future we all want to live in. From research that tackles the challenges of environmental uncertainty, through to voluntary community projects that see students engaging with local residents, the University has pledged its commitment to the lasting legacy of #Bristol2015.

For further details, see the University’s Green Capital web page. We tweet as #UoBGreen.

About the Cabot Institute

The Cabot Institute drives world-leading research on how we depend on, live with and affect our planet.  It stimulates new thinking and strives for new innovations to meet our social and environmental challenges.   Its communities focus on six crucial areas: global environmental change, food, water, low carbon energy, natural hazards and future cities and communities.  Each community is driven by outstanding academics with government, industry and society partners from across the globe.  Working together,  they seek radical and integrated solutions to twenty-first century challenges. 

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