Housing retrofit: Six types of local authority energy service models

Margaret Tingey*, Janette Webb, Dan van der Horst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given the ambitious policy target to become net zero carbon by 2050, what role can local authorities play in the decarbonisation of housing? An examination is presented of six local authority energy service models relevant to housing retrofit in Britain. Local authorities have an important role, with local knowledge about housing stock and economic opportunities; they also have relevant planning and governance responsibilities. However, relatively little is known about either the different energy service models adopted for retrofit or their relative effectiveness. Models identified from empirical case study research constitute experimental innovations resulting from constrained finances and competition requirements in public services. They provided (1) energy-efficiency upgrades to public, residential and commercial buildings and/or (2) district heating infrastructure to secure ‘upstream’ resource efficiencies. Findings show that local initiatives provided different retrofit mixes, with differing potential for effective change. The limitations of current models are considered, along with the policy and market changes needed to empower local authorities to contribute systematically to net zero carbon buildings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518–532
Number of pages15
JournalBuildings & Cities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2021


  • buildings
  • energy services
  • ESCo
  • housing
  • local authority
  • public sector
  • residential
  • retrofit
  • UK


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