Carbon Co-op has pioneered a way of supporting homeowners to invest in making their homes warmer and more comfortable – while reducing their energy use by around half, in line with Greater Manchester’s climate goals
Our report ‘Powering Down Together’ is published to coincide with Community Energy Fortnight 2017. It reports on the retrofit of 12 owner-occupied solid-walled homes typical of Manchester’s housing stock. By upgrading the fabric of homes and adding PV panels, cuts of 40-60% or more were made in both energy consumption and emissions, at a level of capital spending that homeowners were willing and able to invest.
Greater Manchester’s new mayor Andy Burnham has said he aims to cut the city region’s emissions by 48% by 2020 – which will require thousands of home retrofits. By combining individual advice and shared action, the “Community Green Deal” has shown a way for these goals to be achieved, says the project team.
As well as dramatically reduced energy bills, homeowners who participated in the project say:
- Their homes are warmer, including first thing in the morning.
- They feel less damp and the air feels fresher.
- Homes are less draughty.
- Homes are cooler in summer when it’s hot.
Customer research showed that the project’s success resulted from the combination of a community base with expert technical advice and supervision, along with a modest financial incentive (in this case a zero-interest loan).
By bringing a group of householders and their homes together under one umbrella, important elements such as site crew training and the detailing of insulation installation could be shared, while specifications were individualised to each home in line with the needs of the building and the wishes of the owners.
This combination gave customers the confidence to invest, and enabled them to transform the performance of their homes.