The Midlands Net Zero Hub is working with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and the four other Net Zero Hubs to deliver a Local Energy Advice Demonstrator programme that will fund innovative projects piloting new approaches to providing local in-person energy advice.

We are pleased to announce that our programme will be providing funding of up to £2 million to individual projects to be delivered over the 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 financial years. The focus of our local energy advice pilots is to test various approaches to delivering in-person advice, particularly for harder-to-treat properties and digitally excluded consumer groups.

Our pilots have two main objectives. Firstly, we aim to address the complexities of hard-to-treat buildings. Secondly, we strive to support to hard-to-reach consumers who may benefit from local, in-person advice.

• Hard-to-treat buildings – the UK has the oldest building stock in Europe. In-person visits can better capture the complexities of these building types, which are harder to address through digital and telephone advice.

• Hard-to-reach consumers – local, in-person advice may extend the service to certain consumer types, e.g. the elderly, disengaged, those with limited internet access, minority ethnic groups, etc.

Funding bids will be welcomed on a competition basis with the successful submissions going through an element of co-design supported by the Midlands Net Zero Hub for this demonstrator programme.

Our local energy advice pilots are an integral part of the multi-channel home energy advice service being developed by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. In addition to our programme, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero are launching a new energy retrofit advice service on GOV.UK to help people better understand how to make energy efficiency improvements to their home. As well a free retrofit phoneline service, providing easy access to expert advice about retrofit technology.

Midlands projects

The following projects will be supported through the Local Energy Advice Demonstrator in the Midlands.

Birmingham Voluntary Service Council

A group of charities are coming together to set up energy cafes and community events for hard-to-reach communities and hard-to-treat homes. They will aim to engage with people in-person, being sensitive to aspects such as the choice of building, the tone of the speaker, and the availability of translators. Also looking to train volunteers and staff in energy awareness.

East Lindsey District Council

The council will create an energy van that will go to rural areas with a high proportion of hard-to-reach consumers to provide advice. Advisors will give demonstrations of how measures provided by government schemes can help reduce consumers’ energy use and improve the quality of their home. The van will provide a neutral ground to build trust with the community so that home visits can take place.

Leicester City Council

Leicester City Council will build a team to provide tailored energy efficiency plans for households in fuel poverty. These plans will show how they can reduce their energy bills, lower their carbon emissions, and increase their comfort. This team will provide follow up advice to work through the plan and support where needed.

Leicestershire County Council

This project is aiming to support residents already engaged with health and housing services who are suffering from having cold homes. Advice will be delivered and promoted through open homes demonstrating the benefits of retrofit, community roadshows, infrared camera reports, home visits, and retrofit assessments.

Marches Energy Agency

Providing intensive support for 200 hard-to-reach consumers who are eligible for Government funding, but who (for a variety of reasons) are not able to apply for this without support. Consumers will be given access to a small number of trusted installers and advisors will walk consumers through the entire process. Further advice will be offered to a wider audience via a mobile retrofit roadshow, training sessions, and webinars.

North Kesteven District Council

Providing tailored energy advice to hard-to-reach consumers on low incomes. Creation of community energy champions supported by home energy advisors. A mobile energy advice van will be utilised to reach consumers across the rural location. Advice will also focus on adaption measures for homes experiencing overheating.

Nottingham Energy Partnership

Targeting off-gas grid homes, homes in conservation areas, and poorly-performing homes. Advice will be provided through free workshops and webinars, as well as in-person retrofit surveys. Consumers will also have access to a network of trusted installers.

Socially Grown Limited (The Warmer Homes Project)

Targeting hard-to-reach consumers, particularly in rural areas, using a community outreach and education vehicle. Advice will be given in pop-up locations such as health, community and religious centres, as well as food banks, where there will be advisors available to answer questions and arrange energy assessments where appropriate.

Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Using a school as a trusted venue to reach hard-to-treat properties and hard-to-reach people, the council will offer advice and services through this venue using existing partners and organisations. There’ll be a particular emphasis on non-native English speakers and Victorian terraced houses.

All of the Local Net Zero Hubs are delivering Local Energy Advice Demonstrator projects, so take a look at what’s happening elsewhere in England.

Greater South East Net Zero Hub

•  South West Net Zero Hub

North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub

North West Net Zero Hub