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Cambridge City Council

Net-zero retrofit pilot

Our pilot project is underway on Ross Street and Coldham’s Grove to retrofit 50 council homes in line with the very latest in sustainable design. This project will help to significantly reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, whilst improving home comfort.

The project contributes to the council’s vision for the city to be net zero carbon by 2030. It was reported in 2020 that 31% of Cambridge’s carbon emissions come from domestic emissions (The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)).

Key benefits

The key benefits of decarbonising your home include:

  • a warmer home in winter; a cooler home in summer
  • lower energy bills than a non-retrofitted home
  • a refreshed home, with new doors, windows, gutters, facias, and external wall finish
  • consistent temperature throughout your home
  • improved air quality inside your home
  • help fight Climate Change

How the pilot project will make homes more energy efficient

Loft insulation

A quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home. Improving the thickness and quality loft insulation is an effective way to reduce heat loss and reduce energy bills.

Triple-glazed windows

This will reduce heat loss and better insulate your home against external noise.

External wall insulation

This is a new layer of insulation to the outside of the existing walls of your house. It makes your house more efficient at retaining heat.

Floor insulation

Insulation is installed on the ground floor of your house.

New external doors

New external doors with integrated insulation will reduce heat loss and comply with regulations. They will include an effective draught-proofing system.

Solar Panels

Also known as photovoltaics, or solar PVs, they will capture the sun's energy and convert it into electricity for use in your home. By installing solar panels, you can generate your own renewable electricity, cutting your carbon footprint and your electricity bills.

Low-carbon heating

This is integral to reducing carbon emissions and will involve replacing gas boilers with air source heat pumps, which use electricity to extract heat from the air to heat your home and hot water.


Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) will extract stale, moist air from your home and resupply fresh, filtered air back in.


The majority of pre-retrofit surveys have now been completed and planning permission was granted in August and September 2023. Building Regulations approval was granted in December 2023.

Following the completion of a tender process, Axis were been selected as our successful contractor in March 2024.

We are working towards a construction programme starting in May 2024.

Previous events

April 2024

We held a ‘meet the contractor’ drop-in session for residents of Ross Street and Coldham’s Grove. It was a chance for households taking part in the pilot and their neighbours to ask questions about the upcoming works. Representatives from the newly selected contractor Axis Europe were present, with the architects ECD and council officers.

Watch a short video about the project and drop-in event.

April 2023

We held a drop-in event at Ross Street Community Centre with opportunities for participating households to meet the architects, ask questions, view developed design proposals and leave comments. Feedback was generally positive and proposals were welcomed.

September 2022

We held an online webinar for interested tenants in September 2022. It involved a presentation followed by a session where residents had the opportunity to ask any questions they had about the project.

Watch the net zero energy efficiency project webinar.

Further information

Our Climate Change Strategy 2021-26 [PDF, 4MB] shares a vision for Cambridge to be net zero carbon by 2030.

There are many ways that you can get involved to help Cambridge get to net zero:

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