There’s a ripe opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of millions of UK homes through retrofit - and key to this is the development of building standards and knowledge, in tandem with homeowner awareness. 

What is Futureproof?

Futureproof is a long-term, market acceleration initiative, focused on stimulating local demand and supply-chains for low carbon retrofit in the Bristol, B&NES, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area.

The initiative is helping local firms build capability and knowledge in low carbon retrofit, connecting them with homeowners who are ready to do the work, and offering homeowners and builders tailored support and guidance throughout the process to successful completion.

Futureproof is led by the Bristol based Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE), in partnership with expert organisations such as The Green Register. The initiative is backed by central government in recognition that improving the energy efficiency of UK housing stock will need a long term, locally-led change in the market.

How is Futureproof supporting local builders and contractors?

The principal aim of the support on offer to local builders and contractors is to increase best practice in low carbon housing retrofit across the area.

The Green Register have developed a series of training events that will be delivered "by builders for builders” that help transition from providing ‘normal’ home improvements, such as rear or loft extensions, to offering low-risk, low carbon retrofit. The training will:

●    Support firms with adapting to new codes of conduct and practice
●    Demonstrate key retrofit installation approaches
●    Develop understanding of how buildings breathe
●    Raise standards in the retrofit sector
●    Build consumer confidence

We know cost and timings are obstacles to builders attending training sessions and we are delighted that the following training will be offered at heavily subsidised rates that are currently being finalised.

Why get involved?

Futureproof training is designed to equip local firms with the skills and knowledge to deliver high quality, satisfying work based on key sustainable construction principles and impartial training from a range of experts.

This is a valuable opportunity for local contractors, builders and trades to:

•    Shape and expand your service offering in line with the future market, one with increasing demand for energy efficiency measures and higher standards for energy saving technology and skills. 
•    Connect with appreciative, well-informed customers, with high-value projects, through a supportive network of trained advisors.
•    Prepare your business and skills to adapt to future regulatory changes with ease. 
•    Signal to customers that you hold your work to a higher standard, giving them confidence to expect quality.
•    Take pride in refining your craft by developing knowledge and skills with long-term value.
•    Attract more creative and satisfying work that not only benefits your customers and business, but wider society and the environment.
•    Speak to other, likeminded peers in the industry, sharing experience and best practices.

To be kept informed of events relating to Futureproof training please click here 

The Green Register is excited to be part of this. We have been at the forefront of training in sustainable construction for nearly twenty years and our commitment to retrofit is well established with our hugely popular Retrofitting Traditional Buildings event being held for the thirtieth time since 2014.

Connecting homeowners who are ready to do low carbon retrofit work on their homes, with builders and tradespeople who are able and willing to carry it out is at the heart of Futureproof and critical to normalising retrofit. This is why, since March 2018, we have been developing ideas with a number of local builders on how we can collectively increase both best practice and the amount of sustainable construction in the Bristol area. In doing this we have been struck by the passion shown and the hunger to find out more.

When, in November 2018, we ran a site visit for builders and presented the outline of Futureproof it was clear from the feedback received that we can collectively improve the retrofit supply chain in the area.;

What else does Futureproof involve?

As well as building skills and knowledge through training, Futureproof is working to engage homeowners who are ready to do low carbon retrofit work on their homes, through awareness-raising campaigns and green open homes events.

Builders and contractors involved in Futureproof will be connected with these customers, with tailored support for both parties throughout the process to successful completion of the work.

Green Open Homes Demonstrations will be taking place, enabling homeowners to visualise low-carbon measures in a setting which reflects their home and obtain impartial and informal advice like, Who did the work? Were they any good? As such visitors to these events are much more likely to install energy-saving measures as a result.

CSE already manages the Green Open Homes website, which supports these types of events across the West of England, with the popular Bristol Green Doors welcoming visitors on 11-12 May 2019 [3].

Tailored Advice & Support will help overcome the barriers between homeowners and builders. Futureproof offers telephone advice, site visits and the option of a full property audit to support homeowners in making good decisions, appropriate for their property and circumstances, with the best combinations and sequencing of measures.

Quality Assurance to provide customer confidence in the quality of the work, Futureproof will operate a quality control and assurance service that will support both customers and contractors.

The context

The initiative is in response to Each Home Counts [1], the output of the Bonfield Review [2], which identifies that to ensure retrofit is carried out to a higher standard, a consumer charter is needed as well as codes of conduct and practice for trades and a quality mark for all energy efficiency and renewable energy measures.

To raise building standards, more rigorous emphasis will be placed on technical competence in design and installation, improved understanding of quality performance and significantly (as it has been consistently presented by The Green Register for many years) adopting a ‘whole house approach’ to retrofit.

&Two other developments are also important: PAS 2030 (the 2012 standard for Green Deal workmanship quality) is being revised again to cover “any entity installing energy efficiency products or systems”; and the new PAS 2035 is being created as the over-arching Code of Practice for the Energy Retrofit of Buildings. PAS 2035 will act as guidance to be applied to any domestic retrofit work in UK and will identify responsibilities across a range of required retrofit roles including assessor, designer and installer and different paths of retrofit. Both these standards are yet to be published but The Green Register is closely monitoring developments and working with some of the contributors.

For more information please call The Green Register on 0117 377 3490 or email us at mail@greenregister.org.uk

[2] “An Independent Review of Consumer Advice, Protection, Standards and Enforcement for home energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in the United Kingdom” commissioned by DECC, now part of BEIS, and the DCLG July 2015