Chesshire Lehmann Fund - fuel poverty research

Project date
  • Energy
  • Research
  • Retrofit
North West England
Associated team members
Associated documents

URBED and Carbon Co-op successfully applied to the Chesshire Lehmann Fund in 2014 to enable further evaluation of the Retrofit - Go Early project. The Chesshire Lehmann Fund was established in memory of Professor John Chesshire and Dr Peter Lehmann and has the primary objective of supporting academics and community groups wishing to undertake active research or evaluation into the relationship between fuel poverty and energy efficiency. 

Carbon Co-op is a community benefit society based in Greater Manchester which exists to enable its householder members to make large scale reductions in domestic energy usage through whole house retrofit. In 2014, with the assistance of DECC funding and partners URBED, Carbon Co-op has delivered ‘Community Green Deal,’ a programme of whole house retrofits in the Greater Manchester area.

Carbon Co-op applied to the Chesshire Lehmann Fund to enable further evaluation of the Community Green Deal whole house retrofit programme, examining policy implications relating to fuel poor households and the future roll out of whole house retrofit at a national level. 

Research conducted by the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) and the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) in 2009 estimated that raising all properties in England to a SAP rating of 81 (equivalent to an EPC band B rating) would lift 83% of households out of fuel poverty. More recently, the Fuel Poverty Strategy for England outlines a target to 'ensure that as many fuel poor homes as is reasonably practicable achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of band C, by 2030.' Given the efficiency and condition of the existing housing stock, this implies that a far more holistic and deeper approach to retrofit is required. 

Through the lens of Carbon Co-op’s Go Early programme and householders’ experience, we hope to contribute to the wider discussion about whole house approaches and how these might fit in with efforts to tackle fuel poverty. 

Project blog

05.10.2015, 10:21
Final report

We're now able to share the final report of our work with Carbon Co-op for the Chesshire Lehmann Fund. This research evaluates Carbon Co-op’s Community Green Deal project, examining policy implications relating to fuel poor households and the future roll out of whole house retrofit at a national level. 

Community Green Deal was a programme of whole house retrofits of owner occupied homes in Greater Manchester which started in 2012, with the first phase completed in 2014. 

A whole house approach (or ‘deep’ retrofit) involves the design and application of multiple improvements as part of a holistic package. It has the potential to deliver substantial improvements in energy efficiency, resulting in lower fuel bills, lower carbon emissions and a more comfortable home. 

This research collates qualitative insights from householders, examining their experiences at key stages, as well as some initial monitoring data from one home. It also explores the cooperative and community elements of the programme, and whether this has potential to catalyse street-based installations radiating out from whole house retrofit pioneers. 

Based on learning from the Community Green Deal pilot project, we have devised 5 key recommendations for those developing programmes that tackle fuel poverty.

  1. Undertake physical monitoring of homes.
  2. Recognise the importance of ventilation. 
  3. Communicate retrofit in a concise and clear way.
  4. Empower ‘early adopters’ to act as retrofit advocates in their own community. 
  5. Equip the supply chain to manage individual homes. Every household is different even if the physical framework is the same.