Grants / Projects we are funding

Greater Manchester energy enpowerment and low carbon retrofit communities: Carbon Co-op

Grant details


Awarded on:01/07/2018

Duration:4 years


Area of interest

Local economic resilience

This project addresses the growing need to tackle the inefficiency of the UK's housing stock. Through a demonstrator project in Greater Manchester it aims to show how a large scale retrofit can deliver low carbon homes whilst also providing community participation, upskilling and greater retention of economic value at a local level.

What is the issue?

The UK’s ageing housing stock of 27 million homes is a major source of carbon emissions. Energy bills drive 16% of households in Manchester in to fuel poverty and reducing energy demand is key to the UK’s future energy transition. New homes can be built to higher standards, but with 80% of current homes still standing by 2050, these older homes must be retrofitted with measures such as solid wall insulation, triple glazed windows, underfloor insulation and new heating systems. The scale of energy reductions needed is significant – up to 80% reductions are required against a 1990 baseline. Against this background Government energy efficiency policy has been insufficient with the number of measures installed falling from 1.74m in 2012 to 340,000 in 2016. To date the Green Deal and ECO  prioritised cost over quality leading to poor performance and the use of badly trained and underpaid local sub contractors. As Government programmes have reduced, the retrofit and wider insulation sector has been left small and underdeveloped, with jobs and expertise readily lost from the industry.

What will the project try to achieve?

Carbon Co-op will use their track record and network of experienced partners to deliver a four-year programme scaling their not-for-profit retrofit delivery business model and building a sustainable, local retrofit market infrastructure in Greater Manchester. This project will create a new whole house retrofit business model with a closed loop economic system. It will share the learning from the project within the Community Energy sector to replicate the approach throughout the UK. The development activity consists of five work packages building key elements of retrofit infrastructure; finance, supply chain, technical expertise and householder engagement. Running concurrently, a delivery phase sees Carbon Co-op and other local providers meeting the need for retrofit through live retrofit works projects.

Who might be interested in this project?

Community energy groups, retrofit practitioners, local authorities, policy makers, housing associations, householders