A local partnership group, led by York Council, has won an award of £3.5m to create a one-stop-shop retrofit facility intended to boost residential energy efficiency across the city.
The project aims to help households retrofit their homes with low carbon measures, improve their experience, and contribute to better energy efficiency standards, following the funding award from Innovate UK’s Net Zero Living programme.
The £25m programme is intended to help councils tackle the barriers to climate action projects, speed up their progress to net zero, share expertise, and unlock investment opportunities that are said to be worth up to £500bn. A key aspect of its design is to help local authorities across the UK to accelerate net zero in local communities.
As part of the Net Zero Living programme seven local authorities will receive Innovate UK funding of between £2m and £5m to run practical demonstrator projects.
Councillor Kate Ravilious, City of York Council’s joint executive member for environment and climate emergency, said: “In our new council plan, ‘One City, for all’ we have been absolutely clear about tackling the climate emergency as one of our four core commitments to the people of York and, as part of that, we made a clear promise to insulate homes.
“This is a huge step towards delivering that promise, with key partners, in a way that keeps us on course to meet our ambition for York to be net zero carbon by 2030, as well as delivering better homes and improving the city economy. This is an important milestone, and my thanks go to all those involved in making this happen.”
York’s project aims to eliminate barriers to retrofitting properties with carbon reduction measures, and will involve engagement with residents, creating ‘deep retrofit’ demonstrator homes, developing supply chain skills, and ways to match approved suppliers and products to needs. It will also explore innovative financing methods.
The council’s partners in the project are: Brightsparks Agency; Energy Systems Catapult; University of York; York Community Energy CBS; Wrapt Homes; Abundance Investment; and North Yorkshire Council.
Furthermore, the council says its Future Ready programme will focus particularly on five areas deemed most important for net zero progress: “Visioning” and citizen engagement; planning; finance and investment; data; and policy and regulation.
Beyond technical help, it will create a strong community of practice across the UK as the councils work together, generating insights, sharing learning, helping each other and coming up with new solutions.
James Farrar, COO for the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and director of transition for the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority said: “This project comes as the result of the brilliant collaboration between our local authorities and our team at the LEP. With devolution we’re seeing increased investment from the government into the Net Zero agenda in York and North Yorkshire, with over £10m of funds committed at the formation of the combined authority, anticipated early in 2024.
“This project enables far greater public-private sector and B2B collaboration, something that will be critical to unlocking the economic opportunities to be found in scaling up a one-stop-shop approach to Retrofit across the whole of York and North Yorkshire.”
Jonny Stokeld , director of York Community Energy (YCE), added: “This is a big step forward for the city, lending a huge heft to our efforts to tackle carbon emissions from York’s houses.
“It will enable York Community Energy to scale up our existing home retrofit assessment services, and help support householders to engage with contractors and get the work done.
“We urgently need to tackle our climate impact whilst reducing bills and keeping our homes warm, and we’re delighted to be working with the City of York Council and other partners to help achieve this.”
Image credit: J Duggan/Shutterstock
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