Retrofit for All – making a real difference to a community

Retrofit for All – making a real difference to a community

A non-profit community company, the Ynni Llyn project is making a difference to the lives of people in Welsh communities.

Robert Owen Community Banking Fund has been supporting communities across Wales with vital funding in the form of loans for more than 15 years – finance that has been integral to the success of so many projects and made such a difference to the lives of people in those areas.

One of the organisations we are supporting is Ynni Llyn, a non-profit CIC/CBC community company that aims to implement a collaborative model using clean and renewable energy resources with particular focus on the Pen Llyn area of North Wales.

Accreditation for refit work in homes

We were delighted to recently approve a loan for Ynni Llyn as part of their Retrofit For All Project which will enable more people to achieve accreditation and allow them to do refit work in homes, raising the standard of housing stock and making residents warmer.

Retrofit for All: Reducing carbon emissions & creating local jobs in the local community.

Ynni Llyn has grant funding to train and help sole traders and small installation companies to become accredited around retro-fit and renewables work and ROCBF is providing finance to bridge cashflow, as the grant is paid-out periodically in arrears which is very hard for a new organisation to cope with.

Ynni Llyn director Tony Rose tells us more:

“Retrofit for All aims to reduce carbon emissions while creating local jobs – addressing the need to improve the energy efficiency of the 7,500 homes in Pen Llŷn. These homes are predominantly of solid wall construction, located in rural areas and are not connected to the gas grid.

 “Currently there are no contractors in the area with the required accreditations to do this work, indeed, there are only two contractors in the whole of North Wales who are properly accredited to undertake solid wall insulation, one of the key measures required. The little work of this nature that is carried out in Pen Llŷn is undertaken by out-of-area contractors.

“There are several barriers to the installation of energy efficiency measures, notably access to grant funding (principally ECO) and the complex process required by the quality standards, PAS2030 and PAS2035, to undertake the work, which are beyond the reach of the small contractors which predominate in Pen Llŷn.

“Retrofit for All will establish a local contractor group to operate under the umbrella of the PAS2030 and PAS2035 accreditations gained by Ynni Llŷn. Ynni Llŷn will employ Retrofit Assessor(s) and Retrofit Coordinator(s), the key roles required by the quality standards, and organise training for the contractors to attain the qualifications to become Retrofit Installers.

“Ynni Llŷn will also gain necessary permissions, attract ECO and other government grant funding and undertake marketing activities. In the first year three fluent Welsh speakers will be employed by Ynni Llŷn to fill the posts. Ten installations will be completed and the equivalent of 1.5 person years work will be generated for the contractors.

 “In the second year 30 installations will be completed generating 4.5 person-years of work for the contractor group. By 2026 Ynni Llŷn will have established a track record and will be in a position to tender for larger contracts, notably ECO Flex, to provide work for the contractor group.”

On-site renewable generation for all

Mr Rose said the objective was for every home and business unit in Pen Llŷn to abandon the use of fossil fuels for heating and hot water and to minimise demand for electricity from the grid through energy efficiency and on-site renewable generation as far as possible. All of which will be carried out with due regard to the visual and natural environment, involving local communities wherever possible and generating local jobs while encouraging greener transport options.

“The goal is to establish a Management Agency to train and support high quality local contractors in order to deliver energy efficiency measures to residents and businesses in Pen Llŷn using ECO and/or government funds.

“In the first stage of the development of Retrofit for All, the project will focus on improving the worst performing properties and those households that are least able to heat them.”

The main grant funding programme for properties that fit this description is ECO (Energy Companies Obligation), funded and administered by the fuel companies.

“Currently there is also a grant programme open to all householders to switch heating systems that use fossil fuels (coal, oil, LPG) to one that is powered by a heat pump or a biomass boiler (in rural areas only). Retrofit for All will take advantage of this scheme wherever possible.

“It is envisaged that the key energy saving measures required in Pen Llŷn are Solid Wall Insulation and Heat Pumps. Retrofit for All will establish a framework in which local contractors can undertake the required energy efficiency works using ECO funding.

“To achieve this we will attain the required PAS2030 and PAS2035 accreditations, employ the key roles required to run retrofit projects, Retrofit Advisor and Retrofit Coordinator, and train the contractors to be Retrofit Installers. In addition, we will secure ECO funding, gain planning and other approvals and undertake marketing activities to generate, facilitate and fund work for the contractor group.

“Retrofit for All is a new innovative approach to creating local skilled jobs to insulate homes, improving heating systems and generating on-site electricity while also delivering a net-zero and carbon-free future for Pen Llyn.

It will prove hugely beneficial to those living in the area, which is currently one of the most expensive in the UK to heat and will serve to reduce energy bills while protecting our environment.”

Benefiting the community

Robert Owen Community Banking Fund has been pleased to work with Ynni Llyn on advancing its goals and helping bring them to fruition. Initiatives like the Retrofit for All project in North Wales are extremely important because there is a real lack of necessary skills and accreditation within the area, so work tends to go to larger companies from outside of the area – usually outside of Wales.

Making ECO accessible: It is thought the primary use of the scheme is likely to be heat pumps and solid wall insulation

There is currently a large-scale government programme funded by the major utility companies, called ECO4. This creates large amounts of installation work, but it is quite tricky to access and what tends to happen is that larger companies have the necessary qualifications and capacity to apply and they then work with subcontractors.

The plan is that Ynni Llyn gets itself in a position where it can access ECO work and then work with local installers to undertake work. Retrofit for All is an excellent project which will be of significant benefit to the community and we are proud to provide our financial support to the scheme.


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