Zero Carbon Harrogate secures funds to launch
a Retrofit Revolution in the Harrogate District
Posted 17 March 2022
Full Press Release
Zero Carbon Harrogate has received grants totalling over £135,000 from Ofgem’s Energy Redress Scheme and the National Lottery’s ‘Together for our Planet’ fund for a major retrofit programme including training and engagement in the Harrogate District.
The programme aims to reduce the climate impact from domestic energy use by accelerating the delivery of local retrofit services.
Home retrofit, or ‘retrofit’ for short, is the design and installation of energy saving measures in homes to make them warmer and reduce CO2 emissions. Retrofit can include all forms of home insulation, replacement windows and doors, draft proofing, upgrading ventilation and the installation of heat pumps. Heat pumps are an efficient, low carbon alternative to gas or oil for heating the home.
Fiona Jones, Zero Carbon Harrogate’s Retrofit Team Leader, said, “We are absolutely delighted that both our applications were successful and that our programme was recognised as much needed for our district. This is a ground breaking programme and the first of its kind in the U.K.”
There are approximately 67,000 homes in the Harrogate District. In March 2020, an investigation from the BBC’s Shared Data Unit found that 70% of properties with an energy rating in the Harrogate Borough are rated D-G. To meet net zero targets there is an urgent need to improve the energy efficiency of these homes.
However, there is a lack of local tradespeople with the skills needed for whole house retrofits. A Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition survey found 78% of residents agree that they would be prepared to make changes in order to reduce their carbon footprint. Yet local homeowners have found it difficult to access the retrofit services they need.
Chris Wilde from Yorkshire Energy Systems recently said, “We currently have 190 enquiries for low carbon installations and only five employees who can do the work. We expect the new Boiler Upgrade Scheme in 2022 will further boost demand in our area, which provides all homeowners with a non-means tested grant of £5,000 towards a heat pump.”
Zero Carbon Harrogate’s programme seeks to ensure the required skills are embedded in the district’s building industry through a comprehensive training programme, fully funded by the grant received from Energy Redress. Harrogate College have already started developing a curriculum to help deliver this, as well as other industry-related courses.
Holly Hansen-Maughan, Partnerships and Development Manager at Harrogate College said, “Harrogate College proudly supports Zero Carbon Harrogate’s initiative to kick-start the local retrofit industry, and futureproof our district’s builders and tradespeople by providing the training that’s needed. We are committed to upskilling people across our district and ensuring that new skills needed are embedded into the curriculum. We have already had a fantastic start to our retrofit training programme with an oversubscribed course in January on the ‘Foundations of Eco-Retrofit’, through People Powered Retrofit. New courses in Domestic Energy Assessment are also coming in March.”
To find out more about retrofit, what it means for you or your business or any training, come to Harrogate College's Retrofit Awareness Event on 17th Feb 5 - 7pm, details at www.harrogate-college.ac.uk/contact/events
Zero Carbon Harrogate’s new Retrofit Programme is due to begin in the next few months. It will be led by a Retrofit Programme Manager, who will manage an effective engagement programme across the district on behalf of the charity. This is a new, four-day-per-week role, and applicants can find the job advert and role description on our website here, or email email@example.com for more information (applications close on 24th March 2022).
The Retrofit Programme Manager will also advocate for best practice and high standards in the retrofit process. As well as tradespeople, a number of Retrofit Assessors and Coordinators will be trained to specify the work needed and supervise its progress, to ensure high standards of are met.
Homeowners who have managed to start retrofitting their homes have been impressed with the results. Local homeowner Bethany Clarke said, “Having an air source heat pump fitted to our property was important to us as a family, and not just to lower our carbon footprint. With young children and a baby, it’s important to us that our house is always warm, and an air source heat pump keeps our house at a constant warm temperature without increasing our bills. It’s far more efficient than a gas boiler.”
Other local homeowners Bill Rigby and Shan Oakes said, “We have tried in recent years to improve the energy performance of our ‘50s semi. It is like being on a journey, which may never be completed, but the improvements to our comfort and our energy bills have been worth it! People with knowledge and experience have been hard to find, so access for traders to skills improvement is vital.”
If you are a local homeowner and would like more information about how to get your house retrofitted and what funds are available, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Zero Carbon Harrogate's Response to the draft West of Harrogate Parameters Plan (WHPP)
Posted 26 January 2022
Summary of Response
Zero Carbon Harrogate was represented by Jemima Parker, Chair of ZCH, and Tim Larner, Chair of the ZCH Planning Subgroup. We were pleased to be able to present our concerns about the draft Parameters Plan at the meeting, giving a short presentation.
Our four main concerns are:
That there is no recognition of the Harrogate Borough Council 2038 zero carbon target and no carbon accounting in the plans – considering how much carbon will be emitted in the building stage, for homes from heating and lighting and residents’ car use, etc. We would like to see a carbon negative development, one that absorbs more carbon than it emits. This is possible with good planning and design and would help, rather than hinder, the District and County’s efforts to get to net zero.
There is a major omission around energy for the new homes. There is no mention of onsite renewable energy generation. Solar panels, small wind turbines, ground source heat pumps, or possibly a district heating scheme and micro grid (to sell electricity between neighbours) which would all make the new homes more resilient to rising energy costs.
There are pages and pages about design, but not a single mention of building design for energy efficient homes, like passive houses. This ignores the Council’s own planning policy guidance as set out in the Local Plan. We want resident’s homes to be built to zero carbon standards now, not needing to be retrofitted later, and for low-carbon construction materials to be used.
Lastly, we are saddened to see that the plan still has a car culture, reliant on private ownership rather than shared transport and active travel. Given the location on the West of Harrogate we would like to see an imaginative “work from home” settlement, picking up on the 15 minute neighbourhoods seen in other UK towns with plenty of access to car clubs.
Overall it is disappointing the West of Harrogate may miss out on the opportunity to be designed appropriately both to reduce its carbon footprint and to be resilient to our changing climate. Residents across the district will pay the price for this, as it adds an additional challenge to each of us to get to carbon neutrality.
We have submitted detailed comments on the proposals to the HBC Place Shaping Team. Given the level of our concerns we hope that we will have the opportunity to discuss them further with members of the HBC Place Shaping Team and the promoters who will be delivering on the plan.
The proposal to take the draft Parameters Plan for formal adoption by the Council on 22nd February seems totally unrealistic, and indicates that the important points that have been raised in this consultation are unlikely to be taken seriously and incorporated into the final version of the Plan.
Please write to your local councillor asking them to press for the postponement of the adoption of the plan until climate mitigation and adaptation measures have been included.
See Our Full Response Below
Download the file here
ZCH Letter of Support for Cayton Solar Farm
Posted 24 August 2021
Comment: IPCC Climate Review 2021
Posted 10 August 2021
Professor Neil Coles, Chair of the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition and Jemima Parker, Chair of Zero Carbon Harrogate, talk to Radio York about the IPCC climate review published on 9 August.