In a couple of weeks there’ll be a day of workshops and talks designed to help folks learn more about retrofitting their houses to improve energy efficiency. You can find out more about the event – and register for it – here.
MCFly caught up with Jonathan Atkinson, from the organisation putting the event on, Carbon Coop and asked him more.
Why should people come to the event?
If they’ve seen the news and are concerned about climate change but unsure what they can practically do in their homes or communities, this event is for them!
The focus is on offering the skills and knowledge people need for home retrofit and energy efficiency works but there’s other sessions in there for people looking to act in different ways such as building off grid solar panels and battery storage units.
The emphasis is on mixing up expert training, practical skills and peer learning in to a single day. We’re particularly keen on the peer learning because we know that people have so much skills and knowledge to share. It’s also about inspiration, helping people to visualise the kind of changes that are possible in homes and communities to make them safe in the ‘climate emergency’ world.
For those concerned about the impact of climate change and the need to swiftly decarbonise it should be heartening to know there are things that can be done.
The sessions are aimed at different levels of experience and pre-existing knowledge, so there should be something in there for everyone.
Plus there’s a pint in the pub at the end of the day to round things off!
If they can’t come, but want to get info, where do they go?
In terms of the pint – they can go to their own local pub and/or off licence. [Ed: In future leave the feeble attempts at humour to the professionals, okay?]
But in terms of the retrofit knowledge, they should check out the resources and guides on our website. We’d in particular highlight the householder videos section: https://vimeo.com/channels/1259204
What needs to change for local (GM region) activity on energy efficiency/domestic retrofit to kick into high gear, come within a mere million miles of what is needed to cope with social and ecological justice?
In a way it’s really simple and in another really complicated.
Retrofit is in some ways no different to any other home construction jobs, it simply involves specialist materials and specialist contractors taking an appropriate approach to risk.
We have a really excellent existing construction industry in Greater Manchester with builders regularly doing good work in the domestic sector such as extensions, loft conversions and kitchen fit outs.
We need to up-skill these contractors appropriately and demonstrate that there’s a market for this work.
The complicated aspect is that this kind of work is not common or normal and it’s not the kind of thing householders think about when they think about improving their homes.
Carbon Co-op are trying to act as an intermediary, sitting between householders, building knowledge and awareness, sharing best practice and inspiring examples, and builders, assisting their capacity and training.
Appropriate state support for contractor training, with a focus on craft skills and on site training would help, as would financial support for householders to commission work, perhaps in the form of low interest lending and 100% grants for householders in fuel poverty.
We think there is a role for councils to use the borrowing mechanisms they used during the regeneration boom of the 2000s.
We’d also like to see local authorities make better use of planning and building control services to steer people towards retrofit when they are refurbishing and raise quality standards.
Anything else you’d like to say.
Just that we believe everyone has the right to live in good quality, warm, energy efficient housing and that those who have the resources to take action, and are often more responsible for contributing to climate change, have more responsibility for making a difference!