Place-based retrofit and regeneration models

Themes

The Place-Based Retrofit & Regeneration Models project focuses on the provision of comprehensive national-level energy support to households and businesses in the context of building retrofit, while considering the unique aspects of different locations. It recognises that retrofit decisions are influenced by social dynamics and relations within communities, building on previous work in related intitaitives, such as Whole Person Whole Place, and EnergyRev. The project emphasises the importance of local involvement and collaborative problem-solving embedded in different sites of governance and action.

The project is underpinned by a multi-method, multi-sited approach that foregrounds the voices of people and places that have been traditionally marginalised in the national policy arena. As such, it involves five interconnected phases:
The first phase is aimed at creating the knowledge base for a National Retrofit Assistance Service. We seek to explore the benefits of a hub-and-spoke retrofit delivery approach, involving national-level coordination alongside regional and local centres to provide tailored Net Zero energy advice. Our work begins with a six-month scoping study, subsequently relying on expert interviews, governance mapping, and social network analysis to assess the potential for energy assistance support that will be nationally-led but locally-customised and-run.

 

Second, the project zooms into four place-specific retrofit delivery case studies across the UK, to investigate area-based energy efficiency upgrading initiatives. This phase involves extensive collaboration with local partners, interviews, and in-depth ethnographic research over a period of three years. It is entails collaboration with the Flexibility theme, in uncovering the adaptive capacities of different communities and locales.

Third, the project scrutinises the role of community members in supporting place-based retrofit and regeneration through interviews and social network analysis. Here, the emphasis is on the diverse, and often poorly understood, forms of advice and mutual aid that might be harnessed to support energy demand reduction.
The fourth phase examines the equity aspects of place-based retrofit for marginalised groups, utilising deliberative workshops, while collaborating with the EDRC Governance and Equity themes. The aim is to explore the unequal spatial and social impacts of retrofit provision across the UK.

Finally, and bringing together the findings from the previous phases of the project, PEER develops new governance and policy approaches to address present gaps in retrofit provision. This involves co-design and foresight methods, ultimately creating actionable policy solutions. In synergy with the Governance theme, the aim is to develop innovative and inclusive proposals leading to tangible regulatory and legal changes.

 

Overall, all elements of the project centre on the delivery of low-carbon energy and retrofit assistance, which are sensitive to the particularities of place-based social relations and inequalities in the UK. They also contribute to low-carbon policy integration and collaboration across various organisational scales and typologies. The project feeds into the ‘Delivery Models for Accelerating Net Zero Transition’ challenge, as well as the Energy Security challenge.
Research questions:

  • Which intermediary organisations, institutions and networks are currently involved in assisting households and businesses in retrofitting?
  • How is this organisational landscape governed and regulated?
  • Which delivery models are used in the provision of retrofit assistance?
  • What is the role of place-based socio-technical networks and infrastructures in the intermediation of retrofit?
  • How is energy advice provided in the context of retrofit intermediation?