A national event on energy efficiency has been staged in County Durham.

Locarbo conference

Helen Grayshan from our low carbon economy team at the conference

We organised a conference to give interested parties from across the country the opportunity to discuss ways of supporting small buinesses to make the transition to a low carbon economy.Fifty delegates from all over England attended the event at Durham Cathedral, from as far away as Kent, Portsmouth and Sussex.

The event was organised by our low carbon economy team as part of Locarbo, a partnership between us and the European Regional Development Fund’s (ERDF) Interreg Europe programme. Locarbo seeks to improve the energy efficiency of businesses in County Durham by exchanging best practice and experience.

At the conference, delegates discussed how projects like County Durham’s Business Energy Efficiency project (BEEP) support small businesses to save energy and money. BEEP is a partnership involving us and Business Durham which provides free energy audits, advice and support to small and medium sized businesses across the county, with some also eligible for financial support.

Topics included how to best capture carbon saved by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs,) methods of engagement and communication, and funding low carbon economic development in the post-Brexit climate.

Delegates also took part in Locarbo’s National Local Living Lab exercise, a way of sharing good practice learned from energy efficiency projects across Europe.

More information about Locarbo can be found at our Locarbo web page.

BEEP manager Calum Baker said: “We were delighted to welcome so many delegates from all over the country to our county and the iconic venue that is the Cathedral.

“We can all improve the service we offer to small businesses by learning from one another, so it’s fantastic that we’ve been able to host this event through Locarbo.”

The conference was the second SME energy efficiency event that we have organised through Locarbo, with a launch conference for the project taking place in Durham City in 2016.

It was funded by Interreg Europe.