The service starts with a full home assessment called a whole house plan. This is where our expert assessors visit a home and identify opportunities for retrofitting works that can support carbon reduction alongside the wider needs of the household. A homeowner can then choose to follow through with all or some of the suggested measures either using our vetted contractors or by instructing their own tradespeople.
Owned by RetrofitWorks, Warmer Sussex began as one of six supply chain demonstrator projects funded by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy and was created with support from Brighton & Hove Energy Services Cooperative (BHESCo) and Citizens Advice. We were formed in 2019 as a not-for-private-profit cooperative – this means we are owned by our members who include local residents and contractors.
We also partner with local authorities in Sussex to create whole house plans, often reviewing a large number of homes to support a council’s decarbonisation and net-zero strategies. Specifically, we have worked with Horsham District Council and Hastings Borough Council to assess their housing stock.
The uptake from the community has been impressive. We have had just under 500 homeowners get in contact with Warmer Homes since our launch and have delivered around 200 whole house plans. Though we have faced challenges during lockdown – particularly around access to contractors – we are continuing to help some of these homeowners to undertake retrofitting works and expect to return to taking on new homeowner clients soon.
Don’t try and do everything at the same time – Throughout our journey, we have learned that you can’t do everything you want to do at once. You have to build your offering over time and prioritise the segments that matter most to you.
Gather a group of supporters – Engaging community groups and local authorities has been very important to our success, helping to generate interest and clients. It’s also been vital to build relationships with local contractors, as they are in extremely high demand right now.
Think locally – We have found that local outreach and engagement have been much more successful than larger-scale marketing campaigns. This is still a niche product and often word-of-mouth recommendations in smaller communities are how people discover us.