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Manchester: A Certain Future - update from the Buildings Sub-Group

There is a huge challenge in bringing the existing building stock across our city up to higher standards of energy efficiency, across the spectrum of commercial, domestic and public buildings. This will be key if Manchester is to achieve its target of 41% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.

We are aware of the changing landscape, often political, that the whole arena of energy efficiency now lies within. For decades there have been schemes and support for the public to make energy efficient improvements to their homes – now the new challenge for householders is to find the funds for up-front investment in energy saving improvements. We are watching the progress of the Green Deal and other forms of investment to support homeowners and private tenants to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes. 

In Manchester we will be  able to learn from the work of “early adopters” such as the Carbon Co-op who have opted for Green Deal ‘pilot’ retrofitting of their homes, and housing providers like Northwards that have grasped this opportunity and have an excellent track-record of delivering energy efficiency and renewable energy measures.

In the public sector projects include the Town Hall Transformation Project of a grade II* listed building, and Manchester Metropolitan University’s ‘triple zero’ aims (zero energy, zero water, zero waste) for Birley Fields provide inspiration as do exciting new developments like the Co-op’s NOMA building which achieved the highest ever score for BREEAM Outstanding.
Planning policies in Manchester push the tsandards of energy efficiency that must be achieved. In the commercial sector much more is needed due to the complexities of developer, owner, landlord and tenant roles and responsibilities. 

In the commercial sector much more is needed due to the complexities of developer, owner, landlord and tenant roles and responsibilities.

Our activity to date has focussed on this dilemma, linking to events such as Constructing Excellence and to other organisations such as the Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub and Better Buildings Partnership. We have pressed for wider applicability of Display Energy Certificates, for an emphasis on better energy management within buildings as they stand, as well as monitoring improvements to those buildings. We will continue to argue for more support for this sector to improve, including lobbying and making funding bids where relevant.

Whilst activity to make our buildings more energy efficient in Manchester can be said to be underway, much of it remains as small scale projects or pilots, and needs to become much more mainstreamed. 

The MACF buildings sub-group exists to have an overview of the MACF buildings actions and progress in the city. It will help to promote, communicate and support case studies, discussion points and lessons learnt from progress being made in the city. We need to make more of the successes we have in Manchester, and understand better how these can be rolled out at a large-scale in the near future.

These updates will be just one way of communicating that the group will be using to raise more awareness, consider the issues and barriers, and ultimately encourage people and businesses to act.

For more information contact the group c/o Sophie Sheil at Manchester City Council