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

Status: Concluded.

In Birmingham (UK), the independent charity Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) carried out the "Project 3D- Data to help Decarbonise in a Decade" aimed at establishing an open-source, city-wide energy dataset to deliver carbon reduction initiatives and help the largest metropolitan borough in England to reach its targets for decarbonisation. CSE collaborated with Birmingham City Council, multiple stakeholders, and local community partners to build the energy data hub and to support stakeholders with making best use of this data.

The data hub is an online repository of useful datasets that can be freely accessed, including open data on housing, travel, waste, energy, emissions, statistics on regional and sub-regional fuel poverty, air quality, electric car charging points, cycle routes and more. Data can be used to plan, initiate and improve projects that cut carbon in the city, for example through the installation of solar panels or increasing the take-up of low-carbon transport.

Local community action


CSE used data to deliver community-scale carbon reduction initiatives aligned with Birmingham’s existing decarbonisation policies and programmes. Through a public selection process, CSE identified and awarded around 100,000 EUR to seven local community-driven projects implementing on-the-ground activities on the energy and transport sectors to reduce carbon emissions. 

See below the awarded initiatives and actions implemented:

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.