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Retrofit West launch, accelerating low carbon retrofit

Retrofit West launch
10 July 2023

New Community Interest Company to accelerate net zero home retrofit.

Plans to make the West of England a green industry superpower and deliver net zero are taking a step forward, thanks to an ambitious retrofit project announced by West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris.

Colleagues from the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) along with Dan Norris, and other key influencers across the region were joined by the Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change & Net Zero, Ed Miliband, to launch Retrofit West.

Retrofit West is a £7m plan to deliver home improvements and better energy efficiency across the West of England, driving forward the Mayoral Combined Authority’s ambitious targets to strive to deliver Net Zero by 2030.

A new way forward to speed up retrofit solutions

For many years, CSE has been working on the crucial challenge to scale up home 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.

We know there is a need for a new entity to help coordinate and support retrofit activity across our 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 help to build the supply chain and green skills needed locally.

And it’s happening! Working in close partnership with the Combined Authority, we’ve recently set up a new Community Interest Company Retrofit West CIC.

Retrofit West launch
Left to right: Ed Miliband – Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero, Simon Andrews – Retrofit West Managing Director, Ian Preston – Director of Household Services at CSE and Dan Norris – West of England Metro Mayor.

Speaking about the project, Janine Michael of CSE who also chairs the Retrofit West CIC board said: “We’re excited to support the launch of this innovative project to genuinely accelerate retrofit across our region. Retrofit West CIC will provide a much-needed Homeowner Advice Service, addressing the lack of clear guidance and support for people who want to retrofit their homes.

“This advice service will be delivered through Retrofit West CIC, drawing on the skills and experience of CSE’s energy and retrofit advisors and other community partners across the region and will be followed by further investment from the Combined Authority including helping families pay for retrofit projects, developing retrofit skills and increasing the number of businesses in this sector.

“CSE has been highlighting these challenges for years, and it’s brilliant to see pioneering investment and leadership to address some of these challenges. This builds on schemes the Mayoral Combined Authority is already running to develop green skills across the regional economy, including helping people become trained retrofit assessors.”

Simon Andrews Managing Director of Retrofit West CIC says: “With the cost-of-living crisis and the climate emergency there is a clear driver for taking action at a homeowner level. It’s vital that decisions people make about retrofitting their homes are informed choices to ensure not a penny is wasted in tackling the challenge of our times.” 

Government isn’t taking climate emergency seriously

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “In Westminster, we have a government that isn’t taking the climate emergency seriously. It’s fallen to us here in the West of England to deliver the change that people want to see. That’s why I’m investing £7m in a new retrofit scheme that will help people cut the cost of their energy bills, make their homes more energy efficient, and reduce their carbon emissions.

“We’re also going to redouble our support for young people to develop the skills they need to go into green industries, including retrofit, in the future. Workers with the skills to meet the demands of a greener economy will have better paid, more secure jobs in an ever more important sector.”

The kind of project we need to deliver net zero

Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero Ed Miliband said: “Retrofit West is exactly the kind of project we need if we’re going to deliver Net Zero. The next Labour Government has a plan to insulate 19 million homes, but we need leaders in regional government to help deliver it. Dan Norris and the West of England have already shown remarkable leadership in delivering renewable energy projects and investing in sustainable transport. I am delighted to join him for the launch of this exciting new project showing Labour in power delivering for local people.”

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