Buildings are responsible for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. Decarbonizing buildings is essential to achieving net-zero emissions, which means that all greenhouse gas emissions produced are counterbalanced by an equal amount of emissions that are eliminated.

The domestic sector has two main challenges: addressing the energy efficiency and heating of new builds, and of existing dwellings (so called “retrofit”). In order to decarbonise Oxfordshire's buildings, significant investment is needed, including to increase the number of people who have the necessary skills to retrofit buildings.

A key workstream of the Net Zero Route Map and Action Plan (NZRMAP), which all partners of the FOP have agreed, focuses on buildings decarbonisation. This includes expanding and scaling up retrofit delivery, and scale up

Key Outputs

Expanding and scaling up retrofit delivery

Several retrofit programmes are already in place in Oxfordshire – for example:

  • Homes Upgrade Grant (HUG): Energy efficiency upgrades & low carbon heating to households in fuel poverty in Oxfordshire without gas central heating – expected to upgrade at least 310 properties.
  • Heat Pump Ready: Requirement to deliver minimum 25% heat pumps in defined areas (Rose Hill, Oxford and North-West Bicester, Cherwell).

Two projects are also underway in Oxfordshire exploring innovative cost-effective solutions to support the roll out of decarbonised buildings: Local Energy Oxfordshire – Neighbourhoods (LEON) and Future Fit One Stop Shop. A workstream of the Net Zero Route Map and Action Plan, which has been endorsed by all the partners of the FOP, is looking to build upon this work.

Scaling up programmes to address the retrofit skills gap

  • The FOP's partners hosted stakeholder workshops to discuss skills gaps and funding opportunities via FutureFit One Stop Shop (FOSS).
  • £4million of capital funding via the government’s Capital Growth Fund and OxLEP is being put into a new training and education centre (Retrofit Academy) in the sustainable construction sector across three sites, which will deliver 400 apprenticeships and serve 240 full-time students and 300 part-time students within the next five years.

Current Status

The FOP is establishing a working group to review and share existing evidence on barriers to retrofit and shared learning from innovation programmes.

Oxford will be used as a test case to enable county-wide scaling up of retrofit through partnership working and effective engagement to achieve economies of scale.

A joint governance model will be agreed to retrofit based on defined quality standards (via FutureFit One Stop Shop/FutureFit Oxford(shire) and reliable, up-to-date baseline evidence.

FOP is currently looking to commission a provider to effectively lead the retrofit skills agenda in conjunction with the County Council, City and District Councils, and education providers. Under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), green skills have been identified as a key priority for all districts.

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