Carbon Coop - Retrofit 'Go Early'

Project date
  • Architecture
  • Retrofit
North West England
Carbon Co-op
Associated team members
Associated documents

URBED acted as designers and retrofit consultants for 12 owner-occupied houses across Greater Manchester as part of the region's 'Go Early' low carbon retrofit programme. We worked closely with Carbon Co-op to deliver this - a mutual organisation made up of individual householders. The work was paid for through a zero interest loan to householders, funding from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and contributions from the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and householder savings. 

Using the knowledge and experience gained from the Whole House Retrofit Assessments and our TSB Retrofit for the Future projects (3 of the top 4 houses in the recent 'Retrofit Revealed' report were designed by URBED), we were aiming to retrofit as many houses as possible to achieve an 80% carbon reduction. This is in line with the 'Greater Manchester Domestic Retrofit Strategy', which URBED helped to develop. The remaining houses aimed for a reduced but still stretching performance target.

Authored by construction industry journalist Kate De Selincourt ‘Powering Down Together’, reports on the final retrofits delivered through the programme. By upgrading the fabric of homes and adding PV panels, cuts of 40-60% or more were made in both energy consumption and emissions and £1,000/year in bills, at a level of capital spending that homeowners were willing and able to invest.

As well as dramatically reduced energy bills, homeowners who participated in the project say:

  • Their homes are warmer, including first thing in the morning.
  • They feel less damp and the air feels fresher.
  • Homes are less draughty.
  • Homes are cooler in summer when it’s hot.

Customer research showed that the project’s success resulted from the combination of a community base with expert technical advice and supervision, along with a modest financial incentive (in this case a zero-interest loan).

By bringing a group of householders and their homes together under one umbrella, important elements such as site crew training and the detailing of insulation installation could be shared, while specifications were individualised to each home in line with the needs of the building and the wishes of the owners.

This combination gave customers the confidence to invest, and enabled them to transform the performance of their homes.

Read the summary report here and the full version here.