Cambridge, UK
Cambridge City Council
Project Partners
3G Construction and Transition by Design

The challenge

Cambridge, like the UK as a whole, has some of the leakiest housing stock in Europe. Cambridge City Council declared a climate emergency in 2019, and shared a vision for Cambridge to be net-zero carbon by 2030 in its Climate Change Strategy 2021-26.

Many residents of Cambridge are concerned about the climate crisis, as well as rising energy costs, and would like to make improvements to their homes in order to reduce their energy usage and their carbon footprints. However, many residents are unsure where to start, don’t know which measures would suit their particular property, or don’t know which measures would be most effective.

How we helped

Bioregional, 3G Construction and Transition by Design were commissioned by Cambridge City Council to produce a guide that provides homeowners and landlords with practical information on how to make their homes more energy efficient and lower carbon.

Briefed with establishing the technical and cost requirements to achieve net-zero carbon for Cambridge residents, we selected and energy-modelled seven different housing types - from pre-1914 through to 2015 - that are commonly found in the city. We then assessed and costed suitable retrofit measures at an incremental scale, from small through to net zero.

The impact

The accessible guide allows homeowners and landlords in Cambridge to easily understand the costs and benefits involved with a phased, whole-house approach to retrofit, starting from simple, no-cost steps.

The guide shows the upfront cost of retrofitting is significant, while also highlighting the wide-ranging benefits beyond carbon savings: improved health; reduction in fuel poverty; creation of retrofitting jobs; and energy sovereignty. Achieving a decarbonised housing stock is going to require a step-change in how retrofit is efficiently delivered and supported.

We call upon Government to commit much greater funding to support retrofit installations in the city and across the country.

Councillor Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Environment, Climate Change and Biodiversity, Cambridge City Council

The detailed study that informed the guide recommends an 80% reduction in household carbon emissions in line with LETI best practice as an appropriate target. The route to net zero is shown to be technically possible but the final 20% of savings is disproportionality costly.

The study highlighted the huge scale of the retrofit challenge – estimated to cost £4.65bn in Cambridge alone – and has led Cambridge City Council to call upon Government to commit much greater funding to support retrofit installations in the city and across the country, as well as supporting the development of the skilled retrofit workforce that is desperately needed to decarbonise our homes.

Interested in our retrofit services?  

Get in touch via the form below, or click here to learn more about how we can help your retrofit project or local authority.

Image credits: Ben Wicks, Paul Silvan, via Unsplash

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Lewis Knight
Director of Sustainable Places

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