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Retrofit Meets: Community Action

Wed 19 Jul 2023, 6-7.30pm

Retrofit Meets is an in-person series of panel events that connects people through themes and topics relevant to the deep retrofit of homes at scale. Produced as part of Retrofit 23 and taking place on Wednesday evenings at the Building Centre, this series showcases research and ideas on the residential retrofit challenge. The panels feature guest speakers presenting a project or provocation, followed by a Q&A session with the audience. Join us for these thought-provoking sessions and meet and share with others involved in the retrofit puzzle.

In this session, panellists explore community organisation and action and present case studies, before we open up a discussion with our audience.  

  • Lily Green of Hubbub: “The Big Street Upgrade: how can community action break down barriers to retrofitting?”  
  • John Christophers of Retrofit Balsall Heath: “Community-led = Retrofit Reimagined?”   

Hubbub is a charity which believes that to create positive environmental change at the scale and speed needed, we need to get everyone on board. That's why since 2014, they've been designing campaigns that inspire ways of living that are good for the environment. In partnership with OVO Energy Solutions and support from Glasgow City Council, Hubbub is running the Big Street Upgrade, a project supporting a community in Glasgow. Lily Green talks about this process – to enable the community to make both individual and collective improvements to make their homes more energy efficient. 

Retrofit Balsall Heath is a local community group, two years old - but building on local green initiatives going back more than 15 years.  This diverse inner-city area in Birmingham includes the UK’s first zero carbon retrofit, IFEES (the Islamic Foundation for Ecology & Environmental Sciences) founded in the 1980s and Bahu Trust, accredited observers at UN climate and biodiversity summits.  John Christophers talks about his work with this group and ideas that neighbourhood scale retrofit can’t be top-down, it must be community-led, collective street-by-street action. 

Useful Simple Trust is a family of professional design practices, that believe as more and more technical guidance, technologies and processes are developed for domestic retrofit at scale, one important aspect is often lagging behind. How do we effectively enable householders to participate, influence and champion this challenge? In this session, Edith Columba runs through the series of benefits and the impacts that a well-thought strategy of community engagement has on the successful delivery of retrofit schemes and the social and health benefits for householders, from small estates to large communities. She also explores what it means to work collaboratively and across professionals in the sector on this specific challenge

Rafe Bertram Sustainability Facilitator at Enfield Council chairs this session. Rafe’s role at the London Borough of Enfield is Retrofit Asset Manager, Sustainability Lead of Meridian Water and Joint Interim Head of Climate Action and Sustainability across the council.