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Ashley's #GreenWarrior story


Stroud District Council’s Ashley Heal introduces us to the role of a heating and electrical manager in a SHDF retrofit programme. He gives us an insight into his experience supporting the council’s delivery of 46 whole-house retrofits.


    Please note: this news article is from an archive, and may now include information, references or terminology that is out of date. Please refer to the main sections of this website for latest information.

    “It's just not a one-size-fits-all. There's a need to have solutions through different measures to be able to fit that [home] properly.”

    Ashley Neal began his career at Stroud District Council in 2018 as a plumbing and heating engineer and has since gone on to become a heating and electrical manager.  This key role involves overseeing electrical and heating installations and maintenance, ensuring that they are effective and compliant with regulations, as well as managing staff, budgets and the procurement process.

    While heating and electrical managers are involved in all kinds of projects and day-to-day repairs, they will also play an important role in delivering a retrofit programme.  In 2020, Ashley joined Stroud’s SHDF Demonstrator project.  Along with Cheltenham Borough Homes and Two Rivers Housing, the council submitted a consortium bid to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and was awarded £1 million to retrofit 46 homes, all rated EPC D or below. 

    The grant enabled the consortium to deliver whole-house retrofits.  Whole-house retrofit addresses the energy performance of the property as a whole system, rather than making piecemeal improvements.  This involves understanding how different retrofit measures will interact to identify the best solution for each house.

    In the Demonstrator programme, Ashley and the team installed a network of upgrades including air and ground source heat pumps, external wall, cavity wall and loft insulation, solar PV, battery storage, ventilation, new windows and doors, and remote monitoring equipment.  Ashley stressed the importance of this holistic approach to housing retrofit, telling us that “it's just not a one-size-fits-all. There's a need to have solutions through different measures to be able to fit that [home] properly.” 

    For Ashley, achieving the best possible outcome for residents is at the core of his role: “I’m quite passionate about what I deliver, I like the end product to be right for the end user and I don’t like cutting corners.”  When it comes to the advantages of being a heating and electrical manager, Ashley says “the most satisfying thing for me is, you're seeing the results for the end user and finding out that someone's got a zero bill for a period. It's phenomenal!” 

    Wave 2.2 of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund is open and housing providers can now bid for up to £80 million. Full guidance from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero can be found here.

    Contact your support manager and book a Critical Friend Review to receive feedback on your draft application before the submission deadline.  If you haven’t yet engaged with SHRA, you can get in touch at and we can book in a date with you.

    Take a look at the following resources for more information on whole-house retrofit and on forming an effective team for your programme:

    ·       Developing retrofit interventions | Article

    ·       Whole building assessment and benchmarking | Article

    ·       Interventions and Cost Caps | SHRA Masterclass

    ·       Team Forming and Skills toolkit

    ·       Resourcing for Retrofit | SHRA Masterclass

    ·       Assembling and Managing your Team | SHRA Masterclass

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