BLOG: How Young Green Doctors Are Helping To Tackle Climate Change

Throughout August Groundwork are showcasing the outstanding work young people are doing across our organisation to tackle climate change. Zach is 25 years old and works at Groundwork as a Green Doctor Advisor and Retrofit Assessor. These roles are focused on reducing carbon emissions from domestic dwellings and advising fuel poor homes ways to reduce energy bills whilst keeping warm.

“My personal path to this role developed from an interest in how we as humans alter and change the planet through a range of social factors. I studied Global Development & Sustainability at Bath Spa University from 2015-2018 focusing on sustainable development and what this means for different cities around the world. From my studies I quickly realised that the theory of Carbon Neutrality around the world can only be achieved if more economically developed countries act first and quickly. After finishing university my motivation was focused on a career to help the planet in whatever way I could.

After university I moved back to Northern England and applied for a job with Groundwork, and have now been with the Green Doctor team for coming up to three years. In that time, I have completed a number of training modules to help my career within the energy sector. The first was the Domestic Energy Assessor training which allows me to complete energy performance certificates for properties, next was my Retrofit Assessor training which creates assessments in line with the new government framework of PAS2035. I am also currently training to become a retrofit coordinator which will allow me to oversee whole house retrofit projects.

The Groundwork Energy Management Services (GEMS) team within Groundwork Green Doctors uses retrofit knowledge to deliver a number of services to help with decarbonisation. The work we deliver has focused on helping local authorities and housing associations with government funded schemes like LAD1A & LAD1B. The work we deliver stretches from completing EPCs so the relevant organisations can assess housing stock & can complete decarbonisation funding bids. Secondly, we have helped to deliver LAD1A & LAD1B projects where we offer advice on suitable insulation measures that benefit both the dwelling and tenant. Finally, we have also worked on whole house retrofit projects that have seen huge reductions in carbon emissions. As a charity we believe that whatever the future of heating might be, the correct insulation is key for decarbonisation & net zero carbon, and the retrofit work we deliver is critical whatever policy may be introduced in the future.

My personal as well as the organisation’s belief is that decarbonisation is critical to reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere but this has to be a ‘just transition’. Fuel poor homes cannot be left behind as nearly 4 million people are currently living in fuel poverty in the UK. The worrying news about the rise in the energy cap along with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic mean this figure will increase. The Green Doctor team will continue to offer advice to lower energy bills and increase thermal comfort. In partnership with the GEMS team Groundwork is able to offer a holistic approach to dwellings that make sure the building and the people within those buildings benefit from decarbonisation whilst not facing the implications of rising energy costs”.