A new partnership project awarded funding to deliver innovative local energy advice to marginalised communities and those most in need across South Manchester.
Energise Manchester was granted funding from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero in summer 2023, as part of their Local Energy Demonstrator Programme. As a collaborative project led by Carbon Co-op and including People Powered Retrofit, Care and Repair Manchester, Snook and Shortwork, the Energise Manchester project proposes to apply proven public health targeting measures and behaviour change design approaches to deliver innovative in-person local energy advice across South Manchester by the Winter of 2024/5.
The project will focus on marginalised, so-called “hard to reach” communities, such as the elderly, people from diverse communities and those without internet access, and properties that are “hard to treat”. Such properties are those that are difficult to make energy efficient through conventional improvements and require more invasive and whole house approaches. The advice will be amplified throughout the community through champions, trusted local networks and intermediaries such as community centres and faith based groups.
The Local Energy Demonstrator Programme will provide £20 million in grant funding to 36 projects across England from August 2023 to March 2025. The focus of the projects is to facilitate new and innovative approaches to provide in-person energy efficiency advice to consumers at the local level. Energise Manchester will pursue this across five mixed wards across South Manchester: Whalley Range, Moss Side, Rusholme, Longsight and Levenshulme.
The project will run in two phases. The first phase of the project will develop a Behaviour Change Framework and inform the development of engagement and recruitment materials for the pilot in the autumn/winter of 2023/4. Three key themes have been identified for the pilot:
- Warm for Winter: focused on staying warm through simple, cheap and effective home improvements.
- Heat Pump Ready: focused on improving the wider understanding of the technology and home upgrades needed to ensure homes are ready for heat pump installation.
- Whole House Heroes: focused on whole house and deep retrofit approaches amongst.
These themes reflect the diversity of communities and properties targeted through the project. Learning and insight from the pilot will be used to inform and refine the implementation of the project in the second phase in winter 2024/5.
With clear objectives, Energise Manchester seeks to create a Behavioural Change Design approach that can be scaled and applied to energy advice activities throughout the project and replicated elsewhere. This framework can be used to formulate and iteratively test a hypothesis related to which interventions will be effective in changing behaviours relating to energy, bringing public health best practice to the energy advice sector.
Energise Manchester will also identify people, communities and organisations across South Manchester and engage with them to better understand how to include them in co-designing and producing the project.
This project will provide invaluable insight to be documented and disseminated to project stakeholders, particularly government policy makers, to inform approaches towards making homes more energy efficient.