West of England Local Energy Advice Demonstrator (LEAD)
This project is all about sharing home energy efficiency and retrofit advice more widely, working with local community organisations to engage residents, through in-person events and sharing energy advice. The aim is to empower local organisations to become retrofit and energy advice facilitators.
The Local Energy Advice Demonstrator (LEAD) project is one of 36 government-funded pilot schemes to provide in-person energy advice. CSE is leading the project in the West of England area as well as a second project in Swindon and Wiltshire.
Bringing in CSE, BWCE and BEN’s expertise in retrofit, energy efficiency advice and home surveys, and building on their existing local knowledge, community organisations will be able to give homeowners the tools they need to embark on their home improvement journeys.
If you’re a local community group looking to get involved, find out how.
Fixing barriers to local retrofit
CSE is working closely with local organisations to help them deliver energy and retrofit advice. This includes facilitating Green Open Homes events to inspire the community in their retrofit journeys and help them access ongoing retrofit support and home assessments.
A key component of the project is to support hard-to-reach and hard-to-treat properties that may otherwise be excluded from retrofit conversations. What do we mean by this?
- Hard-to-reach consumers can include households who are especially isolated or rural. Or people who are disengaged with retrofit or don’t know what ‘retrofit’ means. As well as those owned by people who might not use the internet which can often consist of elderly people. We want to extend our expertise to households that may have a low awareness of retrofit or who feel they are unable to make significant home improvements. This can be because of concern around costs, lack of confidence or worries about the disruption caused by building work.
- Hard-to-treat homes can include any homes that aren’t typically thought of as eligible for retrofit. For example, older or listed buildings, park homes, off-gas homes, or homes in conservation areas. UK homes are some of the leakiest, in fact, we have the oldest building stock in Europe. This makes a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to retrofit impossible.
Providing in-person advice can help overcome many barriers to getting on with the job of improving our UK homes. By showing real-life examples of retrofit, people can be inspired by what can be achieved in older, complex or quirkier buildings. And meeting people where they are helps to include members of the community who may not be aware of the steps they can take – many of which are straightforward and can attract funding.
To help us achieve this, we’re looking to work with local organisations and community groups. Local groups have valuable knowledge about the areas they operate in and the people that live there.
We’re offering bespoke packages to help local community groups promote the benefits of retrofit to others. This is to inspire people to take up energy-efficiency measures and provide energy advice and signposting for those looking to make improvements to their homes.
CSE will support local groups to run their own Green Open Homes events where people invite others into their homes to look at and discuss improvements they have made. This can be anything from draught-proofing or insulation measures to low carbon heat or renewable energy installations. Real-life examples offer a first-hand look at what can be achieved and give people the opportunity to talk to the homeowner about their retrofit journey. And there’s potential for other events such as tours of homes yet to make improvements. Here, an experienced retrofit assessor will take a group of people around a home and discuss the opportunities to make improvements. The assessor will explain the benefits and what considerations need to be factored in.
CSE will also provide training to community groups so that they are better able to engage residents and offer retrofit advice at the open home events and beyond. They will also be able to help residents access a range of free and subsidised home energy surveys to make informed next steps.
Are you a community group?
If you’re a local community group, this is a great opportunity to support retrofit in your area with grants to help facilitate open-home events. We’ve put together a bespoke support and training package you can access for free. Our resources will empower you to engage your community to make home improvements which will reduce heat loss and save energy in the long term.
What you get from us…
- Grants (up to £5,000 per event) and support for Open Homes events.
- Incentives for home openers (e.g. vouchers for cleaning).
- Free training (tailored to your needs).
- Free home surveys for several participating homes in your community.
- Resources, materials and briefings for home openers and volunteers.
- Information about signposting to advice, subsidised surveys and whole house plans.
- Help with other local events you want to put on.
What we want from you…
- Nominate a single, responsive point of contact or lead.
- Commit to running 1-2 Open Homes events in your community in 2024.
- Identify 5-10 homes for each event, showcasing a range of house types and different approaches to making improvements.
- Recruit home openers and supporting them in the lead-up to, and during, the Open Homes events.
- Promote events locally through your community networks and channels.
- Offer energy efficiency advice and record home and visitor numbers.
- Refer to trusted providers for further advice and assessment subsidies.