Retrofitting Task Force to forward plans for low carbon homes in GM

A new task force will bring together some of the best minds in energy, education and infrastructure to ensure Greater Manchester’s homes and buildings are fit for a zero carbon future.

The Greater Manchester Retrofitting Task Force recently held its first meeting, chaired by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to start setting out a detailed action plan to deliver low carbon retrofitting across the city region.

Its aim will be to outline how home and building improvements can take place on a mass scale, while identifying opportunities to boost new skills, create good jobs and drive investment in low carbon industries.

All of these goals are designed to support a sustainable economic recovery from the pandemic and meet Greater Manchester’s target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2038, 12 years ahead of the national target.

The task force includes representatives from local and national government, social landlords, building authorities, colleges, energy suppliers, industry experts and investors, and is chaired by Mr Burnham.

The single biggest source of carbon emissions in Greater Manchester is heating, totalling 2.8 megatons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases every year.

While a variety of renewable heating systems are available, the low efficiency of many houses and commercial buildings has meant that they are often not affordable for residents.

An estimated 60,000 buildings would need to be upgraded in Greater Manchester every year if the city region is to achieve its target of becoming net zero carbon by 2038.

Retrofitting just 20% of Greater Manchester’s 1.2m homes would create a market size in the region of £3bn to £5.4bn, generating local and inward investment opportunities.

Commenting, Mr Burnham said: “This is a pivotal moment for tackling the climate crisis and supporting our towns and cities to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

We don’t have the luxury of separating one from the other, but we do have an opportunity to meet these challenges together.

“Retrofitting is an essential tool in our arsenal when it comes to cutting our emissions and future-proofing our homes and businesses.

Installing energy efficiency improvements not only makes buildings cheaper to run, it will unlock thousands of exactly the kind of new, good quality green jobs that we need and create better homes for our residents.

“The task force we’re creating will also bring together key partners to prioritise the areas where housing quality is the lowest, helping us to strike at the root causes of housing inequality in our city region and cut fuel poverty.

“This is about setting out a positive vision for how we can tackle the climate crisis, the housing crisis and the jobs crisis. Rather than seeing this as a burden, we have to embrace it as the route to good jobs and homes fit for the future.”

Making low carbon heating more affordable requires both an increase in the thermal efficiency of buildings by installing insulation measures and, where possible, generating more renewable energy on site.

Using the expertise and influence of its members, the Retrofitting Task Force will look to push forward a series of agreed actions and maximise investment and public funding, particularly to support those least able to pay for retrofitting measures.

The work of the task force will build on funding already secured by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to run the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme.

provides grants of up to £10,000 for energy efficiency improvements for low-income households.

To date, the GMCA has been awarded £27m by the government for the scheme, which is delivered in partnership across the city-region with a gas and electricity supplier.

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