A-Z Gamechanger Award Winner: Loco Home Retrofit

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On the journey to net zero, community-based initiatives like Loco Home Retrofit are key. Founded by Chris Carus and Tom Nockolds, Loco Home Retrofit is a retrofit co-operative of homeowners, trades and buildings professionals working together to make homes in Glasgow more energy efficient.


Loco Home Retrofit won the Gamechanger Award at the 2023 Accelerate to Zero Awards for exemplifying collaborative, community-led action and a scalable approach to retrofit and decarbonisation. We spoke to Chris, Executive Officer, about the organisation’s mission, their dedication to overcoming the challenges they face, and the importance of taking a localised approach to retrofit.


Decarbonising Glasgow’s homes


At the core of Loco Home Retrofit's mission is community. With over 200 members, predominantly homeowners and industry professionals who are concerned about climate change, the organisation operates as a multistakeholder cooperative focused on home energy decarbonisation. It aims to reduce the hassle of maintaining and improving homes while incorporating energy efficiency and decarbonisation measures for Glasgow.


Chris says, "We all want a happy and healthy home that doesn't cost the Earth to keep warm. But sometimes it is hard to know where to start and what to do. The main thing we do as a social enterprise is provide whole house plans and independent advice that helps you avoid hassle, save money and save time. A whole-house plan is then your guide to improving and maintaining your home.”


Balancing supply and demand


Chris highlights some of the challenges for homeowners when it comes to retrofit measures for their homes even when they have a retrofit plan. One of these challenges is the scarcity of competent installers in retrofit measures such as heat pump installations.


Chris highlights Loco Home Retrofit’s investment in training and innovation to bolster the supply chain. He says, "While we’re still lacking a clear signal from Scottish Government that would incentivise the development of a retrofit sector, Loco Home Retrofit is part of a long tradition of civic organisations coming together to provide leadership where it's missing. We're helping local tradespeople to raise their standards.”

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A community-centric approach


The team is also putting considerable effort into developing the capabilities that are missing in the sector such as building the trust of homeowners in retrofit. On this Chris adds, “We’ve been experimenting with new forms of engagement with households and with communities, whether that's communities of interest or communities of place. And those communities of place can mean the owners of a tenement or the people in the street.”


Loco Home Retrofit has also been involved in two of the UK Government's Green Homes Finance Accelerator projects looking to bring new forms of finance to homeowners. One of these projects looks at creating a national platform for bringing private finance together with Parity Projects and the other one, with People Powered Retrofit, is bringing non-profit cooperative finance from credit unions into the sector.


Whole home retrofit plans


Central to Loco Home Retrofit's approach is the provision of whole home retrofit plans. These plans, tailored to each household's needs and budget, guide homeowners through the retrofit process for their home. Chris highlights the importance of identifying opportunities for integrating energy efficiency improvements each time we make home renovations to minimise disruption and maximise impact and affordability.


He says, “Core to our approach is that every home has to have a plan. Someone has to come and visit your home and take a holistic view, independent of suppliers trying to sell a product or a service. We’re there to figure out what's appropriate for the building and the household and put it into a sensible sequence.”

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Scaling with a local focus


Loco Home Retrofit works with homeowners, trades and buildings professionals across the Glasgow region. Their focus on Glasgow reflects a dedication to building trust and impact and developing expertise and capability within their immediate surroundings.


Despite the challenges, Loco Home Retrofit has made a significant impact. They hope to scale this from their current rate of producing dozens of whole-house retrofit plans a year to thousands.


Through local empowerment and a commitment to sustainability, Loco Home Retrofit embody the spirit of transformation, reminding us that meaningful change can begin at home.

Accelerate to Zero Awards 2024 

Interested in being involved in this year’s Accelerate to Zero awards, either as a sponsor, applicant or attendee at the awards?