Harnessing DIY retrofits for household emissions reduction at scale: a case study of the Nottingham Green Meadows project

Nottingham Trent University

About the Project

In June 2019, the UK Government committed to achieving a 100% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (the Net Zero target). One of the biggest challenges to reaching this goal is the current state of residential and commercial buildings in the UK, which are responsible for approximately 40% of the UK’s emissions. The UK has the oldest and coldest housing stock in Europe with 28 million homes and 6 million commercial properties requiring some form of intervention to reduce emissions; a process known as retrofitting.  

Other challenges to achieving the Net Zero target are skills gaps in the design and construction professions, a cost-of-living crisis, and inconsistent government policy that is being rolled out too slowly and is often met with resistance from homeowners. This project looks to explore what can be done to tackle these challenges in Nottinghamshire and consider the potential effectiveness of a grassroots, citizen-based approach.  

Nottingham Green Meadows is a community project aimed at providing practical knowledge, skills, and support to enable residents of the Meadows area to take actions related to climate change. One key aspect of the project is a series of practical courses which teach Meadows’ residents how to retrofit their own homes to reduce emissions. The climate crisis is fundamentally a social justice issue, as its impacts are unequally distributed across society, therefore this project aims to contribute to lowering domestic carbon emissions in the Meadows area, ensuring that financial and wellbeing benefits are felt across the community. 

This PhD project will employ participatory approaches embedded within the Green Meadows project, engaging with the local community who have varying involvement with the project. This research will also identify the factors which enable, and prevent, people from diverse backgrounds from engaging with these potential solutions.  

This project has been co-created and is supported by researchers from Nottingham Trent University, the University of Nottingham, and partners at Nottingham Green Meadows. The successful candidate will be enrolled at the University of Nottingham.   

Project Aims: 

  1. Understand the role of simple and affordable energy efficient DIY retrofit solutions in local to national aspirations in meeting Net Zero targets. 
  1. Identify the cultural, psychological, and structural facilitators and barriers to the uptake of energy-efficient home improvements among different groups of people engaged with the Nottingham Green Meadows project. 
  1. Understand how to promote uptake of DIY energy efficient retrofit solutions among diverse groups, including those that are marginalised or face greater degrees of socio-economic challenges, to pursue a socially just transition to Net Zero. 

Supervisory Team: 

  • Lead Supervisor: Dr Charles Ogunbode, University of Nottingham 
  • Co-Supervisor: Prof Richard Bull, Nottingham Trent University 
  • Community Supervisor: Heather Ince, Green Meadows: Nottingham Energy Partnership 


What is Co(l)laboratory?  

Co(l)laboratory is a new research programme, led by Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham, that puts community knowledge and experience at the core of research. Co(l)laboratory takes a unique approach to PhD research, offering a new way for researchers to work closely with local communities and organisations to create and deliver new research, based on the needs and priorities of the people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.  

Co(l)laboratory takes on unique and talented candidates, providing them with training in research skills, civic leadership, evidence-based policy, and more, developing them as community research leaders, and enabling them to bring about meaningful change through their research. 

Who are we looking for?   

Do you have the qualities of a careful and detail-oriented problem solver? Do you have experience working in local community settings? We are looking for candidates with a strong potential for success, who can demonstrate a solid researcher mindset, independence, and resilience, and who have a drive to make a meaningful difference to communities through research. 


How to Apply  

For full details of this and all Co(l)laboratory projects, including eligibility criteria, person specifications, reading materials, applicant support and more, visit our website: www.ntu.ac.uk/communityphd.  

Applications to all Co(l)laboratory 2024 PhD studentships must be submitted through the NTU Doctoral School applications portal, linked through the Co(l)laboratory website. This also includes Co(l)laboratory studentships based at the University of Nottingham. Applications open at 9 am on Monday 23rd October 2023 and close at 12 pm on Friday 15th December 2023. 

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