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New initiative helps community groups in North Somerset provide local people with expert energy advice.

19th March 2024

Calling all community groups in North Somerset! A new project run by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is offering community groups funding and support to promote retrofit among local homeowners.

Retrofit means any work to improve the energy efficiency of a home. From insulation to low-carbon technologies like solar panels, retrofit describes any changes made to a home to make it cheaper to heat and more environmentally friendly.  Household energy use makes up about 15% of the UK’s carbon emissions, so retrofitting homes is vital in our journey to net zero.

The Local Energy Advice Demonstrator (LEAD) project is one of 36 government-funded pilot schemes to overcome barriers to retrofit by providing in-person energy advice. The project aims to reach people who are unlikely to have thought about retrofitting their homes before, and people living in homes that might be seen as difficult to make energy-efficient – like listed buildings or park homes.

CSE is leading the project in North Somerset, sharing their expertise and experience in retrofit, energy efficiency advice and home surveys. CSE is a Bristol-based energy charity that work to tackle the issues of climate change and fuel poverty. Their award-winning retrofit team have over 40 years’ experience delivering energy-efficiency improvements in homes across the Southwest.

CSE will be working with local groups to host Open Homes events. These are where local people open their homes to the public, to look at retrofit work they’ve done on their home. It can be anything from draught-proofing to renewable energy installations like heat pumps or solar panels. Real-life examples offer a first-hand look at what can be achieved and give people the opportunity to talk to the homeowner about their retrofit journey. Experienced retrofit assessors from CSE will also be on hand to provide expert advice.

Bridget Newbury, Senior Project Manager at CSE said:

“I’ve attended events and opened my own house in the past and I think Open Homes events are a great way to inspire more people to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. They’re a very accessible and fun way to create a buzz around going green. You can find out first-hand about what’s involved in improving a home with no pressure or sales pitch. We’ve run hundreds of events and we know that event visitors really do go away and start to make changes.”

CSE is looking for local community groups to help host Open Homes events. They will provide advice and support throughout the project, as well as tailored resources and grants of up to £5k. If you’re a community group and are interested in getting involved in the project, email

The West of England LEAD project is funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, via the South West Net Zero Hub. You can find out more about the project by visiting

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