The way we heat and provide energy for our homes has a huge impact on our carbon emissions.
In fact, residential buildings are the greatest single contributor to Oxford’s total emissions [Source: Oxford City Council Climate Emergency Strategy Report 2019]
We’re not going to solve the climate crisis just by making more green energy alone; we also need to significantly reduce our demand for energy, and one key way of doing that is to increase the energy efficiency of our homes.
What is retrofitting?
In the same way that renewable energy alone is not the answer, building all new homes to the highest efficiency standards is only one important part of the puzzle. What about all the houses we already have? The UK has the least energy efficient housing stock in Europe and we need to ‘retrofit’ what we’ve got already.
Retrofitting means adding a component or feature that was not part of a house when it was first built.
Retrofit measures include:
- replacing light bulbs
- double/triple glazing and secondary double glazing
- loft, wall and floor insulation
- energy-efficient heating systems
- renewable energy e.g. solar PV and solar thermal
- heat recovery ventilation systems (to prevent damp)
Retrofit measures not only reduce carbon emissions; they can also make it cheaper to run your home, help you overcome bad ventilation and damp problems, and make your home comfier and healthier. A lot to love!
Breaking down barriers to home retrofits
For a lot of people, cost is an obvious barrier to retrofitting their home. For those able to pay, other barriers include the hassle of getting things done, the lack of access to trusted advice and skilled installers, and the worry that the end result won’t look nice. We’ve partnered with Cosy Homes Oxfordshire, a new service run by RetrofitWorks in partnership with the Low Carbon Hub and National Energy Foundation, which is working to break down these barriers.
Introducing Cosy Homes Oxfordshire: piloting a ‘one-stop shop’ home retrofit service
The image below gives you an idea of the Cosy Homes timeline. Once you’ve registered on the website, and paid the £75 fee for a Whole House Plan Assessment, you will be assigned a Retrofit Coordinator to guide you through the process. The production of the home energy plan is a tried and tested service, and will provide you with useful information about a host of retrofit measures you could chose to do, listing their cost and benefit in financial and carbon-saving terms.
The service to support the delivery of measures is still being developed and built up in Oxfordshire, so in taking part, you’ll be helping to bring an important local service up to speed.
How does this service break down retrofit barriers? By:
- providing clear guidance on the cost and benefit of different measures in your home, and breaking a whole house retrofit into more affordable bite-size chunks, which can be as and when the need arises or necessary funds become available;
- linking home owners with a team of vetted suppliers and installers;
- providing each home with an expert Retrofit Coordinator to provide guidance throughout the journey and reduce the hassle by coordinating any works;
- case studies to show what others have already done, showcasing what is possible in terms of savings and aesthetics.
How is LCWO involved in Cosy Homes Oxfordshire?
LCWO is a CHO Advocate Community Group, along with Low Carbon Oxford North, Rose Hill and Iffley Low Carbon, LEAF, Hook Norton Low Carbon and Sustainable Charlbury.
Disclaimer: LCWO cannot accept any liability if a householder commissions work through the Cosy Homes Oxfordshire service, including for the quality assurance function played by RetrofitWorks or any guarantees offered by individual building contractors.