Low Carbon Homes' Home Upgrade Show: Innovations in Retrofit
October 16th, 2023
It was great to attend the Low Carbon Homes’ Home Upgrade Show in Manchester last week to be up to date with what’s happening in the retrofit industry and meet people working in the same space - as well as spending the day in impressive surroundings at Victoria Baths!
A few points struck me as I got the train home, still buzzing with ideas and interesting conversations.
The retrofit and sustainable energy options on the market are myriad and mind-boggling - from robots insulating your home to boilers smarter than your average 5-year-old - but if I’m someone working in the industry with an interest in sustainability and I don’t know about these options, how are they going to get wider adoption?
Hopefully, it’s a case of first adopters leading the pack, and soon, these will pop up in online searches alongside or even before business as usual. Suffice to say I’m excited to implement some of the things I’ve seen at the show in my own home - 60% energy saving on my morning shower here I come!
The other point which will come as no surprise is that the skills shortage in retrofit and green construction continues to be a barrier to wider uptake due to the lack of availability of skilled workforce to implement the needed improvements. After the online sessions from Low Carbon Homes this week and the presence of several organisations devoted to addressing this issue, I do feel hopeful that we should see the fruits of this hard work and a more attractive proposition to people entering the workforce in the coming few years.
The event had some workshops and talks, and I attended a very interesting one from Carbon Co-op on Community Buildings and retrofit for them. Interesting points were raised around the funding of retrofit for these buildings and the need for planning and problem-driven approaches to retrofit in these spaces, as opposed to responsiveness to funding pots to do what there is on offer, rather than maybe exactly what they need. There was discussion around data-driven approaches, which was music to my ears as UrbanTide strives to present and interpret data in this area and beyond for maximum effect, and this, yet again, underlines that locally-specific interventions are always more successful than off-the-shelf solutions.
What strikes me is that the whole retrofit industry represents very much a tech-led response to the climate crisis through the implementation of innovations to modernise our homes and shared spaces, but that tech always needs to be used alongside and for the people it aims to benefit, and not simply because it’s possible. Retrofit genuinely seems to be an industry in which these high-tech solutions - whether software, appliances or techniques - are being deployed in a sensitive and people-first approach, and this makes me hopeful of success for the future and the contribution towards net zero that makes.
uZero leverages data and AI to effectively identify and provide targeted energy-efficiency support to fuel-poor households. By seamlessly integrating anonymised smart meter system data with diverse cross-sector datasets, uZero employs innovative approaches to pinpoint and implement solutions that conserve energy and significantly reduce household CO2 emissions.
uZero visualises local data, presenting probability results in an easy-to-view heatmap, helping identify areas at higher risk of fuel poverty and higher debt risk to identify where to prioritise delivery for maximum efficiency.
uZero also identifies income levels, eligibility for specific schemes, such as HUG2, EPC data and ties in additional factors such as income or deprivation to indicate priority households for intervention.