Requesting help to support community energy retrofit


Survey on barriers to retrofit

Community Energy England is supporting their newest Principal Supporter member, Parity Projects, on a Government-funded project to work out how to accelerate housing retrofit through providing a one-stop-shop for retrofit advice, installation and finance. Parity Projects want their service to be as useful as possible for community energy organisations both new to and experienced with retrofit, so we are asking for your help with the development.

The starting point is Parity Projects’ advice platform, which currently helps connect homeowners and others investigating retrofit to installers, suppliers and other service providers. You may already be familiar with the brand names for this platform: Ecofurb in London, Cosy Homes Oxfordshire and Your Home Better in Manchester. The platform does not yet meet the complex challenge of national coverage, grant funding, and links to retrofit-focussed services available across and around the country, including financial services, retrofit coordination and installation; this is the aim of the development work.

Parity Projects wants to work with community energy organisations in the way most suited to each organisation's skills and ambitions, in this national rollout of Ecofurb. Community energy organisations are ideally placed to tackle retrofit, due to their status as independent, trusted, knowledgeable advisors embedded within their communities. Some groups are well-established in providing advice, assessment and installation, but others are just starting to try to work out how they can scale up their teams and processes to deliver retrofit.

Liz Laine, Project Lead for Parity Projects, said "I'm delighted with the coalition that has come together to develop a service that offers both breadth and depth to homeowners. The project is titled 'Empower' with good reason - we need to empower homeowners to decarbonise their homes with the resources available to them. Some may just want advice before commissioning their own work, others may want more support and links to trusted installers. We also want to empower community energy groups. The free advice service should be a useful tool for those new to energy efficiency, while others may want to take a more active role. With that in mind we will be working with Community Energy England on ways for its members to get involved."

We would like to understand the barriers to retrofitting that community groups are currently facing and increase our understanding of the retrofit work organisations are already doing. This information will help to ensure the pathway is developed in a way to encompass community energy groups and best help them accelerate their retrofitting services.

If you can, please complete this short survey. The survey should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete. Parity Projects will use the input to help develop the way their service helps and equips community energy organisations and involves them in the retrofit value chain. CEE will help Parity Projects incorporate the findings into the development work, but will also use the information to better understand our members and the ways we can support them with retrofit work. We will share any findings with the sector to increase our collective understanding of community energy retrofit work.

Existing CEE retrofit resources

CEE has been working to support our members’ retrofit work for some time now. Most recently, during Community Energy Fortnight 2023 we hosted two events which can provide you with a wealth of knowledge and guidance:

First is a whistle-stop how-to guide to providing a retrofit service during, giving community energy groups ideas and people to go to for tools, training and technology to help them set up and run a deep retrofit service in their community. Speakers from a range of established community energy groups at different stages of the retrofit journey presented their learnings and advice alongside companies, including Parity Projects, which provide training, technology and solutions for assessing homes and advising on retrofit measures to make homes warmer, more comfortable and less carbon intensive. You can watch the event back on demand here on the CEE YouTube channel.

Second was a focused event providing expert insight into why insulation and draught-proofing are a vital part of retrofit and how we reduce heat loss and still provide good air quality and fresh air in homes. You can watch the event back on demand here on the CEE YouTube channel.