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At the beginning of March, we were a key sponsor of The National Retrofit Conference, which was being held for the very first time at Futurebuild in London. The conference had aims to create a coming together of those leading the way with retrofit and decarbonisation – and it really delivered.  

The first day of the conference saw a takeover from the National Home Decarbonisation Group (NHDG), which saw the programme of talks focusing on the NHDG’s three core pillars of retrofit policy, innovation and skills.  

As founding members of the NHDG, we were exhibiting alongside other Tier 1 and Energy Supplier members within the group’s hub. Our chair Derek Horrocks was representing the NHDG throughout the day on stage, taking part in several panel sessions. This saw Derek explore the progress made under the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund to date and the key learnings that could be taken forward into Wave 3. One highlight of the day was the ‘policy roadmap for retrofit’ panel along side the minister Lord Callanan, under secretary of the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Simon Ayers MBE, chief executive at TrustMark, and chaired by Samantha Shea, head of policy insight and engagement at Gemserv. 

He also shared his vision for everyone to have a financially viable option to decarbonise their home, and for every resident to receive the same high-quality services from the specialists that support them on that journey. Even though government policy has an important role, Derek also highlighted in these talks that the retrofit industry must continue to take responsibility for the future. 

The final talk of the day – “A 10-point plan for retrofit success: skills, innovation and policy” – featured a highly-skilled and passionate panel who brought together the 10-point plan, talking through the actions, the importance of each step and obtaining important feedback from industry. This included how to support all property tenures, through to improving the business case by utilising property-specific and archetype data.  

Derek said: “This has honestly been one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended – in some ways, nothing more needs to be said. It’s a week that really captured the growing momentum needed to push decarbonisation and how to scale-up without compromising quality. It was especially enlightening to reflect on funding options like the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and what the forthcoming Wave 3 could unlock – particularly given that discussion was with Caroline Withey, who heads up the programme within DESNZ. 

“Most importantly, it was pleasing to see how residents are really at the heart of conversations about housing decarbonisation – aligning with our own philosophy to not only deliver retrofit works, but positive social change. We cannot underestimate the positive impact already made on communities, and use that to recognise the huge transformation potential that still lies ahead for people across the country. 

“It was fantastic to see how busy the NHDG hub was throughout the week too, allowing NHDG members to speak with delegates from across the wider industry on how we can together make a really powerful difference. It’s a huge credit to the team at Futurebuild and The Retrofit Academy on a hugely successful first outing for the National Retrofit Conference – we already can’t wait to see what 2025 has in store and to see the progress we all make in the next year.” 

Our managing director Gary Lawson also took to the stage on day 2 of the conference, joining representatives from Longhurst Group, Cardiff University and VINCI Facilities for a panel session focusing on how we are delivering retrofit at scale in homes and communities. 

During the session, Gary talked about our work with Matrix Housing Partnership, which under Wave 2.1 of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund sees us delivering homes for seven different housing providers across the Midlands and southern region. In total, 905 homes are set to receive retrofit upgrades, positively impacting the lives of more than 2,000 people.  

Gary said: “It was a brilliant panel to be part of, really showcasing the dedication our team has to creating productive partnerships with our clients that create positive impacts. These sorts of partnerships are a prime example of how to maximise the economies of scale, reducing admin and sharing a common approach across multiple schemes. This can be seen by the employment opportunities, with 25 SBS roles supported, and a further 200 full and part-time positions supported within the supply chain.  

“The National Retrofit Conference at Futurebuild was a roaring success, and we have been proud to be sponsors of the first ever event. It was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate excellence, share learnings and develop new ideas together – continuing our momentum into the future.” 

On top of an incredibly productive week, we were over the moon to come away from The Retrofit Academy Awards with not one, but two trophies – read more about those award wins here