Creating jobs, empowering communities

The old proverb goes, ‘give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’, the same applies to energy projects.gas-fitters-perth

Community led retrofit programmes offer opportunities for local employment and economic growth. Employing local residents ensures that knowledge is created and retained so that it can be utilised in future projects. Furthermore, incomes are provided to local people ensure regional economies are boosted and areas flourish. Not only do residents benefit from warmer homes, but they are empowered by the process.

Retrofit of existing homes is often more employment intensive than constructing new buildings. In fact, in 2011/12 the energy efficiency market provided around 136,000 jobs in the UK and it is estimated that for every £1 million spend on energy efficiency, 23 person-years of employment are directly supported in the industry. It was shown in a study by Pollin, Heintz and Garrett-Peltier (2009) that employment creation from investing in energy efficiency is 2.5 to 4 times higher than that for natural gas and oil.

This isn’t just theory, The Sustainable Cities project began with its first partnership in 2010 and  has since spread across 10 cities. The scheme integrates home retrofit projects with community engagement to deliver benefits across economic, environmental and social dimensions. Overall, the project secured 780 jobs and training places and 15 long term unemployed people were recruited and trained to be energy assessors in multiple cities.

Not only does increased local employment provide wages and skills to local people, but it ensures that knowledge and skills are maintained and shared within an area; why wouldn’t local authorities want to support such an approach? Have you heard of any community energy projects that have boosted local employment? Join in the discussion!

SmartKlub is publishing a series of blogs on the benefits of community-led energy efficiency programmes. Read about an inspiring case study in Nottingham, find out more about our work with the UKGBC’s task group, learn more about the health benefits of retrofit, the NHS savings and energy bill savings that can be made.