3D: Data to Decarbonise in a Decade - Birmingham, UK

Status: In Progress

In Birmingham (UK), the independent charity Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) realises the "Project 3D- Data to help Decarbonise in a Decade" aimed at establishing an open-source, city-wide energy data-set to deliver carbon reduction initiatives in the city. The project's website hosts a Data-hub which makes available a range of data sets including open data on housing, travel, waste, energy, and emissions. Datasets include statistics on regional and sub-regional fuel poverty, air quality, electric car charging points, buildings emissions, cycle routes and more.

In addition, CSE uses the data to deliver community-scale carbon reduction initiatives alligned with Birmingham’s existing decarbonisation policies and programmes. Through a public selection process, CSE has identified and awarded around 80,000 EUR to seven smaller community-driven sustainable energy initiatives that will help Birmingham City Council reach its overall decarbonisation goals in the energy and transport sectors.

Awarded community groups


Using data to support the best actions to improve local communities and tackle the climate crisis, seven groups across the Birmingham area will receive around 12,000 EUR each to support climate action projects across the city and surrounding area. The free 3D data hub covers a huge range of areas on housing, travel, waste, energy, and emissions and can support understanding on how many people are in fuel poverty or able to access broadband in a particular postcode, to looking at air quality or electric car charging points in a specific area and more.

See below what the groups are planning on taking on with the funding and how they are contributing to achieving a low carbon future:

Birmingham County Football Association

BCFA will select 5-6 football venues located in areas with high levels of multiple deprivation and air pollution. The goal is to encourage more sustainable transport behaviours such as through car sharing, public transport, or active travel.


Footsteps will use fuel poverty, EPC, waste, and air pollution data to target community engagement surrounding advice on these areas in faith communities.  Footsteps will work with Ecobirmingham and with Act on Energy to provide energy assessments and help alleviate fuel poverty in faith communities.


Ecobirmingham will use multiple datasets from the 3D data hub to inform the creation of 2 ward level, and 7 – 14 household level, ‘One Planet Living’ sustainability action plans, that will review baseline GHG and agree detailed pathways to reduce this impact with community members. 


Ecobirmingham will use existing cycle route and air pollution data to create a new 30-mile cycle route that links all 69 wards of Birmingham together. The goal is to encourage sustainable transport behaviour.

Birmingham Tree People

BTP will combine land use and tree cover data with urban heat island, flood risk, air quality and index of multiple deprivation data to create a ‘Tree Equity Map’ that will identify locations where increased tree cover would provide the most environmental and social benefits.

Community Energy Birmingham

CEB will create an advice service to support household energy efficiency measures and heat pump installations for the able-to-pay market.  They will use EPC data to target their engagement in areas with the least efficient properties.

Community Energy Birmingham

CEB will use solar potential mapping, grid constraints, and conservation area data to create a self-referral tool whereby site-owners can undertake an easy early assessment of the viability of solar PV installations on their buildings. 

Decarbonisation goals


Birmingham has an ambitious target of a 60% reduction in total CO₂ emissions by 2027, against 1990 levels, which represents a reduction from 6.874mn tonnes baseline in 1990 to 2.7496mn tonnes by 2027. Government data indicates that in 2015 Birmingham’s CO₂ emissions have decreased by 33.7% against a 1990 baseline. The national targets set through The Climate Change Act 2008 are a reduction of at least 51% by 2025 and 80% by 2050 (against the 1990 baseline). The total emissions for 2016 were 4,467,000ktonnes.

Birmingham City Council’s key priorities are:

  • Addressing fuel poverty: 1 in every 5 households in Birmingham are classed as in fuel poverty;
  • Improving energy security: currently more than 99% of the 1.5billion EUR Birmingham spends on energy flows out of the city;
  • Decarbonisation: to meet the Council’s own target and the national "legally binding" targets.

“In our cities we must change the way we live and travel and what we buy to meet our net zero targets. The new projects we’ve funded all aim to do something really innovative with data and will support Birmingham’s efforts to reach net zero in the next decade.”

Bridget Newbery, Project Manager



Case Study on the Project 3D

Produced by the ICLEI World Secretariat along with studies on other funded projects by the Action Fund in Mexico and Brazil. Click here for more.

3D Data Hub: User guide

Centre for Sustainable Energy


The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is an independent national charity, working to tackle climate change and end the misery of cold homes across the UK. CSE delivers practical work to support households and communities to take action on energy, alongside original research to inform local and national policy.

CSE's proposal was selected to receive fund through the ICLEI Action Fund for its data-driven approach and focus on generating impact at policy, program and community levels. In light of the project team’s strong connections to government level decision makers, the project’s alignment with Birmingham’s efforts to decarbonise and CSE’s strong track record in community engagement were considerable to the project's potential to generate significant added value. The proposal had a strong "action" component including funding neighbourhood interventions, and a significant 80,000 EUR subcontracting budget.