A new essay provides insights into an inspiring and ambitious energy efficiency initiative aiming to retrofit the city of Cambridge.

Energy efficiency represents a win-win for the environment and energy bill payers. With older or inefficient buildings representing a large proportion of UK building stock, it will be impossible to raise levels of energy efficiency without retrofitting. However, with fragmented ownership and other challenges, this is a difficult task.

Against this backdrop, the ambitious Cambridge Retrofit project aims to be "a landmark community-scale energy efficiency initiative to retrofit 65,000+ buildings over the next 30 years, helping make the Cambridge area the first to reach national carbon reduction targets".

Jan Gerhards, a doctoral researcher at the International Eco-Cities Initiative, was involved with the Cambridge Retrofit Project at its early stages, and contacted its director to learn about what had been happening since.

The result is a new essay in our Reflections series, written by project director and Emeritus professor Douglas Crawford-Brown.

The initiative has so far completed its pilot phase of 800 buildings (including landmark projects such as the Cambridge University Library), using a four-phase approach: 1) mapping out emissions throughout the city, 2) the coordination of key actors and stakeholders, 3) a pilot project and 4) rolling the project out across the community.

It is now entering its crucial fourth and final phase. The key challenge now is mobilising the community and creating a demand for energy efficiency measures.

Image copyright: e X p o s e / Shutterstock.com.

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