“I care about our future” – lessons from our Housewarming launch and next steps

What is Housewarming?

LCON’s Housewarming Programme aims to enable homeowners to feel confident and well informed about their options and choices for eco-renovation.

Our aim is to provide base knowledge and a supportive framework to help local residents navigate through their options and become more educated ‘buyers’, preparing for the likely replacement of most UK gas central heating systems with heat pumps. Find out more about the programme here.

Engaging with our community

To launch the programme we held two meetings with north Oxford residents all at different stages of eco-renovation, to find out more about their motivations, interests, challenges and barriers. Their feedback will be used to help us develop appropriate tools and support mechanisms.

What are the main drivers of eco-renovation?

We asked residents about their reasons for looking at eco-renovation. ‘I care about our future’ was the most common (almost unanimous) response. Others included ‘making a difference’ and ‘it’s a  good way of raising climate change with others’. Preparing the house for old age was also a popular reason, as was enjoying the challenge, and people added ethical reasons in the free text box of the survey. Enjoying DIY however rated zero!

What are the barriers?

When asked what was making it difficult to achieve a warm/energy efficient home, the most popular responses related to cost and the hassle of undertaking building work, closely followed by concerns related to living in a listed house or within a conservation area, and a feeling that sales people could not be trusted. An unprompted response that featured extensively was the feeling of not knowing what to do and where to start.

What help do people want?

Most residents wanted help with where to start and in what order to tackle an eco-renovation. Residents highlighted the need for independent / impartial, trusted and expert advice, and they would like to see opportunities to see and hear what others have done. There were also requests for technical information and an insight into the costs v benefits, as well as information about future regulation and legal requirements to assist with ‘future proofing’, and audit advice.

How can LCON support residents?

Residents told us they would like to receive support through group meetings along with peer support – matching those at a similar stage or with similar issues. We will be exploring how we can best put some of these ideas in place as the programme progresses.

In terms of information, we discussed with residents some examples of our planned Housewarming Guides. The initial reaction suggested the guides are going to be very helpful and are pitched at the right level of ‘technicality’.

Next steps

For everyone wondering ‘where do I start?’ – the first of the Housewarming Guides, Taking Stock, will be ready for publication in the next few weeks. Watch this space!

How to get involved

It’s not too late to join our community engagement group and support activities. If you think you might be interested in joining the programme, please email Sharon, our Housewarming programme coordinator: sharon@lcon.org.uk.

How to support Housewarming

The Housewarming Programme has been made possible through generous donations and grants and we would like to thank everyone who has shown their support. We have now reached about two thirds of our target of £27,000. If you can help us make Housewarming a success by making a contribution of any size it will be extremely welcome. Please don’t hesitate to email Rebecca (details below) if you would like to discuss our request.

How to give:

  • For bank transfers: Triodos Bank – a/c name Low Carbon Oxford North, a/c no 21145474, sort code 16-58-10.
  • Cheques should be made payable to Low Carbon Oxford North and sent to Rebecca Nestor at 36 Stratfield Road, Oxford OX2 7BQ (email chair@lcon.org.uk),
  • or visit our Crowdfunder page.

Thank you.