Cambridge Retrofit Project: Energy-saving scheme for city

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Media captionThe £1bn for the project would come from both the private and public sector

A £1bn scheme to install energy-saving technology into buildings in Cambridge aims to show how cities can take action to reduce their carbon emissions.

About 40,000 properties, along with the city's medieval college buildings, are expected to take part in the Cambridge Retrofit Project (CRP).

It is hoped the project investment will result in energy savings worth £1.5bn.

The city's current carbon footprint of 830,000 tonnes of CO2 a year could fall to about 500,000, said the CRP group.

Prof Douglas Crawford-Brown, director of the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research, said: "If we are going to achieve the ambitious carbon reduction targets the UK has set, then we are going to have to learn how to run projects of this scale.

"Crucially, our plan is to ensure that the business of retrofitting Cambridge's buildings is demand-driven.

"Other attempts at initiatives like this have tended to work on the assumption that if a programme to make large-scale changes like this is created, people will use it.

"Our view is that you don't start supplying until you've got the demand. Our first objective is to get big estate-holders involved."

'Real opportunity'

Residents, companies and public organisations that sign up to the scheme will receive support in fitting out properties with loft and cavity wall insulation, enhanced window glazing, draught-proofing and energy-efficient lighting.

Early participants include the University of Cambridge and Cambridge City Council.

The project, funded through a mixture of public and private investment.

The city's former council leader Sian Reid, who chairs the CRP, said: "There is a real opportunity here to create nationwide awareness of how retrofits can work for building owners, occupiers and communities.

"To do that, we have to make Cambridge a living example of best practice."

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