On 19 September, dozens of organisations from the health, housing and public sectors all over Gloucestershire came together in Gloucester's picturesque Blackfriar's Priory for 'Working Together for a Better Gloucestershire', joining forces to combat the twin goals of decarbonisation and domestic health and wellbeing.
Nationally, Gloucestershire is a leading county when it comes to joining the dots between health and housing — and in this context, the Build to Low Carbon project is aiming to capitalise on this strategic advantage and make huge steps forward in improving the region by using energy efficiency retrofit to kill two birds with one stone.
With keynotes from Neil Penny of the Gloucestershire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, and Andrew Padmore from Egnida energy consultants – the day revolved around understanding the health-and-housing landscape of the county; offering insights into how organisations are working to help the most vulnerable in the county, and improve our housing stock at the same time.
The event featured an Innovations Hall, showcasing the technical advances that will play a significant role in decarbonising the properties of the future and improving their health benefits at the same time. Seminars around retrofit software Enerfund, the Gloucestershire Energy Strategy and the specifics of the Build to Low Carbon Action Plan gave the day a real strategic focus — but perhaps the most valuable aspect of the event was the opportunity for collaboration between often quite distant organisations; recognising challenges and providing solutions to one another.
If nothing else, the event proved that when it comes to the health of its residents and the pursuit of a low carbon future, Gloucestershire has a great many champions and advocates. Throughout the Build to Low Carbon project the value and innovation we have put into these activities has been a model for colleagues across Europe, from Spain to Croatia to Slovenia, where it has influenced public policy and changed the way the country approaches the issue of fuel poverty. As a region these are issues that we are passionate about, and confidence should be high that we will be able to deliver time and time again with further improvements to properties and public services.