Net Zero Home Retrofit: building the local supply chain, one year on
CSE recently gathered together professionals across the retrofit industry to rise to the challenge of getting our local homes to net zero and saving people money on energy bills.
Together we discussed progress and opportunities for retrofit across the region and challenges with the supply chain.
In attendance were building contractors, heating engineers, renewable energy installers, training providers, advice providers, builders’ merchants, the four West of England local authorities, the West of England Combined Authority, and the South West Energy Hub, finance institutions, and other businesses and organisations.
For many years, CSE has been working on the crucial challenge to scale up home and building retrofit services through our Futureproof programme – both working with local authorities on funded schemes and developing services for households able to self-fund their home energy improvements.
Many of the people we speak to are keen to make retrofit improvements but face a long wait to get a contractor to do the work. Since CSE hosted our last workshop of this kind, some 12 months ago, many of the key challenges we discussed then remain.
Key discussion points
- Participants looked at some of the challenges with the installation of work and agreed we need more and at a far greater pace. Everyone agreed we need more people to do the work, from low skilled labours to renderers and heat pump engineers.
- We need to normalise retrofit within the renovation and extension market.
- We need better access to materials and equipment to retrofit homes.
- We need procurement processes for government grant programmes to nurture local installers rather than favour single contractor models of delivery.
- We need support programmes and schemes that enable smaller contractors to navigate the quality assurance requirements and frameworks associated with grant funded work. Many smaller companies don’t have the time or support to apply for grant funding because it’s often a complicated process.
- We need better collaboration between local authorities, suppliers, funders, installers and trusted intermediaries like CSE to stimulate more home retrofit across the region.
- One of the key findings from our 2022 workshop was the need for a new entity to help coordinate and support retrofit activity across the region. An organisation dedicated to working with everyone involved in retrofit to map out needs, connect the key stakeholders to improve opportunities and outcomes and support new initiatives that breakdown barriers.
And it’s happening. We shared this great news with participants at this workshop and we look forward to working with people across the construction sector to make retrofit a reality.
Retrofit West will work with others to build the supply chain and green skills opportunities and will include support for micro and small businesses such as builders and those carrying out repairs, maintenance and improvements.
Find out more about CSE’s Futureproof programme
Futureproof works with local authorities on funded schemes and develops services for households able to self-fund their home energy improvements.