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What is the Warmer Sussex programme?

RetrofitWorks, in co-operation with BHESCo, Citizens Advice Hastings and Hastings Borough Council, is launching a home retrofit programme called “Warmer Sussex”. This test launch of a new service is vital to support the growth of the UK’s clean energy industry in the run up to Zero Carbon Britain and to create new jobs building a stronger economy.

Warmer Sussex offers whole house retrofits, expert advice and services for promoting and accelerating energy efficiency retrofits to improve our old leaky homes. The programme is ambitious, using the latest technology to process home energy performance data, producing tailor made reports summarising the economic, environmental and biodynamic impacts of undertaking energy efficiency building works that improve people’s comfort at home.

What are the benefits to home-owners of Warmer Sussex?

Warmer Sussex presents the opportunity for homeowners to obtain expertise for a reasonable cost, that is recouped over time, especially as energy prices increase. The project will initially be targeting residents of Brighton & Hove, Lewes, Worthing, Eastbourne, and Hastings, but will be available to homeowners throughout Sussex.

The project aims to:

• Create Jobs
• Take people out of poverty
• Retrain people to work in the clean energy industry
• Bring hope and confidence back into people’s lives
• Create a sustainable business model that helps Sussex home-owners access low carbon / low energy demanding homes at an affordable cost

warmer sussex retrofit heat loss
The Warmer Sussex programme will help homeowners identify where heat loss is occurring and design the most cost-effective solutions to address any issues

How does it work?

The process starts with a survey conducted by a qualified domestic energy assessor who will generate a bespoke solution for each customer including carefully planned recommendations for refurbishment. 

A Retrofit Coordinator evaluates the potential of the home by reviewing the survey information and working up a Whole House Plan. This is discussed with the home-owner during a free 30 minute telephone consultation, after which the Retrofit Coordinator will project manage the installation of selected improvements. This includes identifying the most cost-effective quotes from practitioners, over-seeing the installation, and reviewing all completed work before final sign-off by the client.

energy saving survey - thermal imaging

How will you identify which homes to target?

The Warmer Sussex programme will take a clustered approach to refurbishment because economies of scale are possible when a team of builders are able to focus on one street at a time. Retrofit teams work quickly, doing all the necessary jobs in one go. This cuts labour time and cost.

This ‘group approach’ has been used to great effect in some places where public funding has been available with estimated cost savings of about 30% over house-by-house approaches. Our approach is to address the poorest performing homes first, including homes in the private rental sector, addressing the inequity issues around access and fuel poverty.

In some instances, the project will also target individual homes where appropriate.

Tackling unemployment with new green jobs

Following on from our recent blog on the divisions that the Extinction Rebellion could create is an incisive article in the Guardian by Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan which addresses some of the the same issues that we discussed. Ms Nandy mentions the possibility of One Million Climate Jobs, a report published in 2014 by the Campaign Against Climate Change.

Since then, unemployment has officially dropped from 6% to 4%, the Green Deal has collapsed, banks are still afraid to lend their money, businesses don’t have access to capital to invest in growth and the energy efficiency industry has shrunk dramatically.

warmer sussex home retrofit practitioner members

Although many of the points mentioned are still valid today, contrary to what is suggested, we don’t need a centralised government service to oversee the creation of climate supporting jobs. 

Markets work best when there is reliable supply – a fully trained work force that can carry out energy efficiency and renewable energy installations – and a strong demand from customers that want them across the country. 

Funding any job creation effort takes investment.  The government needs to make it mandatory for banks to fund enterprises that need affordable finance to fund their expansion and employment of new staff to help them grow. 

warmer sussex - whole house retrofit
Tackling climate change and reducing emissions

42% of all carbon emissions in the UK originate from the production of electricity and heating in our buildings. We can dramatically reduce emissions by insulating and draught proofing our leaky buildings, replacing our inefficient boilers, using our electricity and heat more wisely, taking our homes off oil heating and onto clean renewable heat and producing more local, clean energy from solar panels and wind turbines.

To install all of this new kit we need investment. The banks are not lending to enterprises to help us grow, train our staff and develop new projects. This all has to change. 

You can be the change your want to see by taking action to reduce carbon emissions in your own home. You can create the demand that will drive the UK’s carbon emissions reductions. It all starts with a 

“Warmer Sussex is the culmination of years of knowledge in retrofitting England’s buildings, and by applying cutting-edge software and data, plus a layer of quality control and government funding, you have the opportunity to offer something truly unique beautiful.

We need to encourage demand to get the supply, and this project aims to do just that, using a platform that brings customers and suppliers together. Since 80% of our homes have already been built, we need to bring them up to the low carbon emission levels we know are possible.

People are asking for support from community groups to help them through the transition to a low carbon home – and Warmer Sussex is providing that trusted support.”
Kayla Ente - CEO Founder - Brighton Hove Energy Services Cooperative (BHESCo)
Kayla Ente
Founder, BHESCo

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