A community-based cooperative has launched in Glasgow’s Southside to help homeowners make their properties more energy efficient, in the wake of COP26.

According to official Government figures, heat and energy from homes account for 31 per cent of all emissions produced in Glasgow.

Now, Loco Home Retrofit CIC is inviting property owners to join them to help accelerate the city’s path to net-zero, set for 2030, by decarbonising homes. 

Director Chris Carus said: “Glasgow and Scotland have both made some very significant commitments to carbon reductions and it's very difficult to see how they're going to realise that on time with the current plans. 

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“We believe grassroots action is necessary to mitigate climate change, to halt Scotland's contributions to climate change.

“Communities can be much more agile and nimble and fill in the gaps where the governments’ broad-brush legislation misses opportunities to act faster.”

The social enterprise will act as a community intermediary between homeowners, who wish to invest in energy efficiency, and contractors with the skills to carry out retrofits.

Improvements to reduce the energy used to heat homes - as well as energy bills - include lofts and draughts proofing, underfloor and wall insulation, and double or triple glazing.

“We found that there are many people who understand the issue and want to take action, but get stuck because it's confusing, complicated, and there’s contradictory advice,” added Chris.

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“So we are here to make bespoke independent advice much more accessible and just help people move from that intent to action.”

After giving up a career in supply chain management, Chris, originally from Dundee, went back to university, working on a thesis looking at what would spur owners to take action to make their homes more sustainable.

He said: “I started to realise the seriousness of the climate crisis after becoming a father in 2019 and reading some quite serious, scary reports.

“Government action alone is unlikely to be enough. We saw it with COP26, we're still heading in the wrong direction on climate change.”

After further training at independent research institute Passive House and 18 months of project development, he set up Loco Home.

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Since early this year, he and his colleagues have been offering an advice service on top of day jobs to any homeowners interested in retrofitting their properties. 

They officially launched the cooperative last month, with an online event that saw more than 90 attending.  

Chris added: “The aim of a cooperative is for people to work together for mutual benefit and the mutual benefit here is to develop the retrofit economy in Glasgow to be bigger and more effective. 

“When you think about a just transition to mitigate climate change, and the Paris Agreement, it really asks people in countries that are most able to to act first. 

“Within Scotland many of those people do want to act but just get stuck, either through lack of independent advice, or lack of contractors and that's the biggest thing we want to start with.”

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The first step to making Glasgow homes more eco-friendly is improving maintenance, said Chris. 

“The Glasgow sandstone buildings, they're built really, really well, they've lasted 100 or 150 years,” he said. 

“But the first part of energy efficiency retrofit is making sure the condition of the building is good. 

“Unfortunately many of our buildings have a backlog of maintenance that needs to be carried out, so that's something we want to address.”

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Currently counting more than 20 members, Loco Home is asking residents to get involved by joining its mailing list, getting in touch via social and attending free events. 

While the project is starting out in the Southside, there are already plans to broaden its scope to the rest of the city.

“There was nothing like this in Glasgow, as far as we could see, so that's why we set up the cooperative,” added Chris. 

“We’d be interested in working with existing community and residents groups, owners, associations, anybody that wants to take some action within their homes or in their neighbourhood.”

The group is funded through the Scottish Government’s Social Entrepreneurs Fund, and is set to hold a series of events backed by Glasgow City Council over the coming months.