A ground-breaking project to help Somerset homes become more energy efficient has won crucial funding.

Somerset Climate Action Network (SomersetCAN) in collaboration with Somerset Council and Frome, Glastonbury, and Bruton Town Councils, have successfully bid for a £50,000 grant to set up a not-for-profit service promoting and supporting ‘retrofitting’.

Retrofitting means making changes to an existing home that help reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions, making the homes more comfortable to live in.

Backed by the grant from MCS Charitable Foundation, Retrofit Somerset aims to speed up retrofitting delivery across the county by:

  • Bringing together existing climate groups, Parish Councils, not-for-profit organisations, and others to develop a workable model for delivering retrofit across the county.
  • Enhancing Retrofit Somerset as a one-stop website that helps to inform and connect homeowners and community groups with local retrofit contractors.
  • Accelerating the widespread adoption of low-carbon technologies like heat pumps and PV panels.
  • Helping groups of homeowners to work together to achieve practical solutions, including grouping together to get discounts on retrofit works.

Retrofit Somerset will have its own dedicated project manager, as well as local advocates in communities trained to engage locally to raise awareness of the benefits of retrofit for homeowners to start their retrofit journey.

Steve Mewes, Director of Somerset Climate Action Network said:

80% of the homes we will occupy in 2050 already exist. We can’t just rely on decarbonising the grid or building new energy efficient homes to meet our carbon reduction commitments. We are delighted to receive this grant from MCS Charitable Foundation to help us enable communities and homeowners to take retrofit action at pace across the county and make homes happier and healthier places to live.

Councillor Sarah Dyke, Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change at Somerset Council said:

Everyone should have access to affordable and reliable renewable energy, and live in warm, comfortable homes as part of a resilient, zero carbon future. A greener, more sustainable Somerset is one of our top priorities and Retrofit Somerset will give confidence to Somerset homeowners who are unsure how to go about improving their home’s energy efficiency.

In its first year, the project aims to create an investable business plan to attract further funding to help continue essential work to decarbonise Somerset homes.

David Cowdrey, Director of External Affairs at MCS Charitable Foundation, said:

Upgrading homes to make them warmer, more energy efficient and cheaper to run is essential for meeting climate targets. It is also a huge challenge that requires innovation, collaboration, and support for homeowners. That is why setting up a one-stop-shop hub to provide advice for homeowners on how to retrofit their home is so important. Combined with the work that is going on across Somerset to develop retrofitting at scale, this could mean a step-change in the quality and energy efficiency of homes across the county.

For more information about Retrofit Somerset, including retrofit stories from Somerset residents and a directory of retrofitting suppliers and contractors, visit retrofitsomerset.info

About this article

April 25, 2023

Lorraine Hemmings

Climate Emergency

Press Release