Net Zero Neighbourhoods

Together with the Scottish National Investment Bank, Dark Matter Labs and BE-ST planned and held a workshop in April to share learning and support initiatives aimed at delivering Net Zero Neighbourhoods at scale and pace in Scotland.  

Super Straho Wdtigtomulw Unsplash Medium

To drive Net Zero in local places, there is a need for professionals from finance, social engagement, engineering, policy, procurement, organisational design, and many other areas to collaborate in a unique and unprecedented way alongside and with communities across Scotland. 


The purpose of the workshop was to bring together key organisations and people working on decarbonising neighbourhoods to: 

  1. Build a community of experts and practitioners in Scotland who have strong links and can support one another to deliver on shared goals. 
  2. Work together to support the development of key projects by sharing expertise and problem solving to move those projects forward. 

As a starting point for discussion, the white paper “Net Zero Neighbourhood Funding Model” developed by Bankers without Boundaries, ARUP, and Eunomia was presented. We then invited pitches from organisations working in the space of neighbourhood scale decarbonisation, including Loco Home Retrofit, Eala Impacts, Nesfit and two additional organisations decided to pitch on the day, WikiHouse and Snugg


The purpose of the pitches was to set out three things:

  • What is the project trying to do?
  • What is missing?
  • What will move it forward?

The five pitches covered topics including:

  • The role of skilled trusted intermediaries in delivering retrofit at scale 
  • The need to redesign access to capital and investment for community wealth building outcomes as opposed to shareholder private profit
  • The quality of data available and necessary to design and deliver appropriate and successful retrofit 
  • The opportunities in MMC technologies to assist in low carbon retrofit solutions 

A series of discussions, using the ProAction café format, took place following the pitches and these concluded with feedback sessions to the room.


Net Zero Event 3

Takeaways from the feedback session included a sector-wide need for:

  • Clear and compelling language that people relate to
  • More active collective approaches
  • Accessible funding and finance at all levels, from hyperlocal to city-level and national coordination
  • Investment in collaboration to pull together the range of knowledge, skills and tools needed to deliver retrofit

As individual organisations, we recognised the importance of the following:

  • Local organisations to be supported to scale up and become key intermediary delivery organisations
  • Larger organisations and the public sector to invest in building skills and capacity for accessing commercial finance

Many participants reflected on the need to work on collaborations and consortiums to pull together all the necessary skills, from deep community knowledge (and trust), to delivery expertise, to business acumen and project financing. 


We know that some good connections were made on the day, and our intention is to explore how the conversations and relationships forged can continue. We invite suggestions and follow up ideas whether you were in attendance or not. Achieving net zero neighbourhoods is a complex task, and it is clear that all involved on the day, and those working on this tirelessly across Scotland and the UK will continue to engage and support those pathfinders and solutions that can help us deliver a just transition for our communities.