Our project

What is retrofit?

Retrofit means improving an existing building in such a way as to greatly increase its energy efficiency and reduce its carbon-emissions. This could include repairs, better insulation and ventilation, and new low-carbon heating systems.

Download and read a more detailed explanation from the Centre for Sustainable Energy.

Or watch a recent conference presentation by Justine Mallinson, our former retrofit assessor/co-ordinator. (YouTube, about 30 minutes).

(David Attenborough)[1]

Why retrofit?

The retrofit project is about helping homeowners in Bruton and Cary invest to make their homes fit for the 21st century: more energy efficient, and with reduced carbon emissions and heating costs

What most UK homes waste is energy, and in a big way. We have the least energy efficient housing stock in Europe[2]. This is true in Somerset, and in Bruton. In the BA10 postcode only 38% of homes had an EPC rating of A,B or C[3].

The UK’s 29 million homes are responsible for around 14% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions[4]. To reduce carbon dioxide emissions and tackle climate change, almost all existing housing in the UK will need some form of retrofit.

To meet the UK Government’s 2050 ‘net Zero’ target retrofitting will need to be done at scale and pace.

Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy [5]


Why the Bruton and Cary area?

Bruton Town Council declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency in March 2019. At the same time, it established a Climate and Ecological Emergency Working Group to advise the Council on the steps it needed to take to meet its 2030 zero carbon target.

The Working Group wanted to try and find a way for a small investment to make a big difference to emissions. Retrofit appeared to fit this bill, and in July 2020 the Town Council started informal conversations with the Centre for Sustainable Energy (‘CSE’), an established national charity, to develop the project.

CSE’s experience is that many householders have the means and the wish to improve the energy performance of their property, but do not know where to start. There is no reason to suppose that this is not the case in Bruton, Castle Cary and their surrounds. In March 2021 Somerset County Council awarded Bruton Town Council £75,000 from its Climate Emergency Community Fund, making it possible for the project to go ahead. Bruton Town Council is also supporting the project financially (which is why the service is free of charge in Bruton and its neighbouring parishes). Castle Cary Town Council supports the project but has not made a financial contribution.

Frequently asked questions

Who pays for the improvements?
Are there grants available?
What about social housing?
Aren’t you just benefiting the well-off?
What does the project cost, and how is it funded?
How long does the project last?
How is the project managed, and who employs the staff?

[1] The Guardian, 19 October 2019, ‘Just don’t waste’; https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/oct/19/just-dont-waste-david-attenborough-advice-bbc-seven-worlds-one-planet accessed 4 September 2021

[2] Green Alliance (2019), Reinventing retrofit, p1

[3] Local research using nationally available data.

[4] Climate Change Committee (2019), UK Housing: fit for the future?

[5] Somerset Councils (2020), Towards a Climate Resilient Somerset: Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy, Appendix 8