In conversation with Low Carbon Homes (LCH)

Graham Lock, Founder and Director of Low Carbon Homes, speaks with REI about the work of this nationwide independent retrofit network and its role in supporting those contributing to the low carbon transition.

In conversation with Low Carbon Homes (LCH)

What is the purpose of your organisation?

Domestic property energy consumption equates to 14% of UK carbon emissions. Low Carbon Homes exists to reduce this impact and highlight the wider social and economic benefits of retrofitting existing housing.

We are a nationwide market-led network of professionals and suppliers who we convene at events and through our online community platform to learn, share and showcase best-practice. We aim to unpack the complexities of retrofit-at-scale, reduce confusion and promote action.

Who is the membership of the organisation?

Our network consists of a wide range of professions – all of whom provide advice or guidance to householders, either directly or indirectly.  Professions include engineers, installers, contractors, surveyors, consultants, landlords (private and social), architects, policy makers and community group leaders.

How many do you have in the network?

Our database consists of over 30,000 individuals, of which 15,000 subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter (Retrofit Review), 3,500 have attended an event and over 500 belong to our online community Retrofit Rendezvous.

What are the objectives of your organisation?

Low Carbon Homes brings industry together with local stakeholders across the UK to accelerate the take up of domestic property retrofit to provide warmer, safer and healthier homes for all. Our role is to convene those willing to play their part in decarbonising and improving our homes to facilitate collaboration and promote action.

Why should our community join?

Retrofit is a complex topic, and the market opportunity is not understood by many.  There is a huge amount of high-quality, high-margin business to be won by those who can genuinely provide scalable solutions. Businesses in this space can differentiate themselves in the marketplace and work among like-minded professionals keen to play their part in decarbonising our homes, helping to meet our climate change challenges.

What are the current challenges facing your members and the broader sector?

Our network members face numerous challenges in retrofitting over 20,000,000 homes by 2050 to meet legally binding government targets.

The lack of long-term government policy is unhelpful, but significant funding is now flowing from government to help the most vulnerable upgrade their homes.  The whole house approach to retrofit is widely advocated but is very complex and costly to implement, with many competing claims about methodology and product performance.  Consensus is emerging, but the entire supply chain needs to move in lockstep if a uniform approach is to be adopted and supported by government. 

A national retrofit strategy will provide a strong signal of intent from the government, unlock finance and encourage new market entrants. There are amazing career opportunities in the sector too, but these are not widely understood or promoted… yet!

What are your main current activities?

We have a series of regional retrofit-related events coming up, online summits and in-person Home Upgrade Show.  These free-to-attend events will focus on Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Glasgow – with many more in the pipeline.

What would you most like to see changed to accelerate growth in the adoption of low carbon technologies?

Consistent policy, communications, messaging and funding from central government, with empowered and adequately resourced local government would be a great starting point. A robust competency-based career and training pathway would help improve standards and consumer confidence, leading to faster take-up and the normalisation of low carbon heating.