Community energy is key part of housing refurbishment, says report

Community energy is a crucial element in the refurbishment of housing, says report based on research by the Carbon Co-op. Retrofit Fact-file is a summary of facts and publications...

Community energy is a crucial element in the refurbishment of housing, says report based on research by the Carbon Co-op.

Retrofit Fact-file is a summary of facts and publications relevant to retrofit – the upgrading of existing homes to new energy-efficient standards – and draws on the Manchester community energy co-op’s practical work in this area.

The report, drawn up by urban design and sustainability co-op URBED, showed that energy-efficient retrofits may help tackle environmental and social issues while attracting investment and creating jobs.

The issue is an important one, with housing accounting for 29% of final energy consumption and links between cold housing and poor health.

The report confirmed the findings of the Community Green Deal project, which saw the Carbon Co-op organise energy-efficient retrofits. Local owner occupiers benefited from multiple whole-house retrofit measures, such as external wall insulation, triple-glazed windows and solar panels.

Energy-efficient retrofits have ambitious carbon emission reduction targets, with the report estimating that Carbon Co-op homes save an average £900 a year on their bills and cut gas use by nearly half.

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Jonathan Atkinson of Carbon Co-op said: “The report outlines the case for doing more on energy efficiency and improving our homes – benefiting not just the environment but our pockets and our health.

“Since the government’s Green Deal programme ended in failure, it’s up to community energy organisations like Carbon Co-op to show the way.”

Professor Kevin Anderson, deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said: “If the UK is serious about making its fair contribution to meeting the Paris Agreement’s climate goals, it is crucial it begins a programme of rapid retrofit across the UK’s housing stock.

“Carbon Co-op’s work demonstrates what can be achieved when technical expertise is brought together with an understanding of how householders live within their homes. Given the appalling thermal condition of much of the UK’s housing stock, retrofit is one of those few cases of a genuine win-win opportunity.”

The fact file concludes that a renewed commitment to energy efficient retrofit could create 130,00 jobs in the UK’s construction industry and pump billions of pounds of investment in to the economy.

URBED (Urbanism, Environment and Design) is an employee-owned co-operative with 10 staff and associates, comprising urban designers, planners, architects, an economist and a sustainability expert.

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