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Start-up details steps needed to drive progress towards low carbon Welsh homes

A North Wales firm has outlined how it is leading on the scaling of the net zero retrofit sector to help bring large-scale energy improvements to homes throughout Wales with the aim to eradicate poverty and support business growth.

Holywell’s Cyd Innovation detailed how it is building a social partnership between the government, social landlords, and installers to accelerate the delivery of low carbon homes that are affordable to heat across Wales during a visit from Hannah Blythyn MS.

The firm, which has delivered ongoing support to more than 5,000 energy efficient homes across North Wales to date, has experienced rapid growth in the past six months as the cost of living crisis has seen authorities looking to reduce power bills through decarbonisation and retrofitting projects.

With the average energy bill increasing by 54 per cent in April to £1,917 per year and with a further increase expected in October, Cyd Innovation has detailed how it intends to scale up production services to help deliver at least 50,000 low carbon homes by 2025.

Cyd Innovation provides a virtual energy efficiency team which provides retrofit experts on demand as well as assistance with funding and grant applications to social landlords.

The firm also works to funnel investment into Wales to develop growth opportunities for local supply chains, working with them to scale up production and create jobs and training opportunities.

Managing director and founder at Cyd Innovation Steven Reynolds said: “The need to improve the UK’s housing stock has never been more urgent, as more and more households are facing unaffordable energy bills as a result of living in properties which badly need improvement.

“The Welsh Government has placed an obligation on social landlords to establish a system to convert all social housing into properties with a rating as close as possible to EPC A or equivalent by 2033, with the estimated cost of delivering this being £5.5 billion.

“The biggest challenge facing the sector right now is ensuring the right talent and skills are in place to scale up decarbonisation and affordable warmth efforts.

“This challenge is bigger than any single organisation and requires social value-focused partnerships which can maximise investment into Wales and coordinate spend through our Welsh supply chains into the local communities that need it.

“We are passionate about becoming the catalyst between the public, private, and the third sectors to accelerate progress and drive social landlords towards net zero, as all parts of the economy need to work together to ensure we can deliver these vital projects.”

As part of Cyd Innovation’s plan to further scale up support to social landlords and local authorities, the company is embarking on an ongoing recruitment drive throughout 2022 to meet its rapid growth, with plans to provide the service beyond Wales.

Steven continued: “One common piece of feedback we are receiving is that there is not enough in-house expertise within the sector to manage all the different components needed to deliver effective decarbonisation projects.

“As a result, these providers are having to prioritise how they approach the topic of net zero, and this is leading to additional challenges as they are then required to work even harder to catch up to changing regulations and industry developments.

“Therefore, we need to be able to scale up our own processes and bring in the required expertise to be able to provide associations with the encompassing, holistic approach which will empower them to take great steps towards reaching net zero.”

Cyd Innovation’s plans and how they can best fit in with Welsh Government aims were discussed with local Senedd member Hannah Blythyn during her visit to the offices in Holywell.

Hannah Blythyn, MS for Delyn, said: “It was good to have the opportunity to learn more about the innovative and important work that Steven and the Flintshire-based team at Cyd Innovation are driving forward.

“It is clear that if we are to rise to challenge of the climate crisis and the coming cost of living storm, collective practical solutions that bring broader economic, environmental, and social benefits are needed.”

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Cyd Innovation's MD Steven Reynolds (right) and Will Bell during their meeting with Delyn MS Hannah Blythyn at their Greenfield base.

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Cyd Innovation is an award-winning specialist consultancy company which helps leaders and communities achieve their goals through innovative methods which creates jobs and leads to an overall lower environmental impact. Meaning “together” in Welsh, Cyd aims to grow businesses to eradicate poverty and deliver decarbonisation, with the organisation working with social housing landlords and local authorities to help and improve their stock to achieve net zero carbon. The company was named the 2021 Start-Up Business of the Year at the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce business recognition awards and is one of just 60 businesses highlighted by Natwest’s UK-wide 2022 Business Accelerator programme for climate change-focused businesses.

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