Co-ops launch community share offer to give homes low-carbon retrofits

Carbon Co-op and Urbed want to raise £550,000 to eco-refurbish 1,150 homes and train 3,500 contractors in Greater Manchester

A Greater Manchester home retrofit service, set up by two co-ops, is aiming to raise £550,000 via a community share offer so it can eco-refurbish 1,150 homes and train 3,500 contractors in the region over the next five years.

In the UK, homes are responsible for about 20% of the country’s carbon emissions, and these homes need to be decarbonised with retrofitted improvements such as upgrades to insulation, draught-proofing, windows and doors.

Urban design and research co-op URBED has joined forces with Carbon Co-op, which works in community energy, on a bid to raise £550,000 to eco-refurbish 1,150 homes and train 3,500 contractors in the region over the next five years.

The not-for-profit ‘People Powered Retrofit’ service is seeking investment from individual investors so it can scale up the scheme with the aim of saving 2,700 tonnes of carbon by 2026 as it makes homes more energy efficient.

From as little as £250, anyone can become a part-owner of People Powered Retrofit which already works with hundreds of householders in Greater Manchester, giving them independent advice on finding trusted ‘green’ contractors and choosing the right eco-upgrades: from wall, floor or roof insulation to high performance windows and doors or draught-proofing works.

Funds raised through the community share offer will help the not-for-profit service to recruit extra retrofit advisors, co-ordinators and assessors and reach thousands more householders, supporting them to improve the energy performance of their homes.

The investment will also be used to train some of the thousands of builders, installers and other tradespeople who want to work in retrofit. Although there is demand from householders to green their properties, there is a shortage of skilled, local contractors who can deliver the work.

People Powered Retrofit is already a member of Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham’s Retrofitting Task Force which aims to tackle this problem. Specialist eco-renovation training, provided by People Powered Retrofit, will skill-up the workforce and help the city region hit its 2038 net-zero carbon target.

Jonathan Atkinson, People Powered Retrofit programme manager, said: “Our homes are responsible for about 20% of the UK’s carbon emissions, yet we lack a simple, affordable means of making them more energy efficient at scale. When people ‘green’ their homes by themselves it can be really confusing, there are so many options. We want to give people reassurance and a helping hand.”

Homeowner Alan Williams, who lives in Whalley Range, South Manchester said: “People Powered Retrofit gave me lots of guidance when I insulated the floors in my home. I want more people in the area to benefit from their experience. If you buy community shares in this service, you are helping to combat climate change by supporting more people in Greater Manchester to de-carbonise their homes.”

Liverpool-based floor insulation contractor Boris Afinogenov said: “The training I got through People Powered Retrofit convinced me to turn my woodwork hobby into work. They gave me access to information and to people connected with floor insulation. I also learnt about whole house insulation.”

Ethex CEO Lisa Ashford said: “We’re very pleased to welcome People Powered Retrofit to the Ethex platform. Our investors love to use their money to fund impactful organisations like this to scale and grow, and this organisation is a great example of grassroots action to tackle climate change.”

The People Powered Retrofit community share offer launches on 6 September 2021 and is open for investment until 30 November 2021. Investments start at £250 and go up to £55,000. Investments in the share offer target a 5% return. Visit for more details.

Investors should read the community share offer document carefully, including the terms and conditions section, before making a decision to invest.