After completing a first degree in Engineering Science at Oxford University, and an initial phase as a refrigeration engineer, Catrin Maby worked with the Energy Conservation and Solar Centre in London, where she was introduced to the issue of fuel poverty, and helped to establish an energy advice service for London social housing tenants in 1984.
She went on to work in rural community development, before returning to energy, and has been Chief Executive of sustainable energy charity Severn Wye Energy Agency since it was established in 1999. Catrin's research draws together her interests in long term solutions to fuel poverty and achieving significant cuts in energy demand and carbon emissions in housing, with small (and micro) businesses and their role in the local economy, in particular the building trades.
Catrin has an MSc in Energy Resources Management from South Bank Polytechnic, and received an OBE for services to the environment and social equity in the New Year Honours 2012.
Retrofitting home energy improvements: make it mainstream, make it local, make it work
With the 26 million homes in the UK estimated to be responsible for 27% of the country's total CO2 emissions, and 75-80% of the current building stock expected to still be standing in 2050, the research aims to evaluate the practical barriers, solutions and need for enabling mechanisms in the local supply chain in relation to the delivery of home energy efficiency ('retrofit') improvements.
Using a grounded theory approach, the work will focus on delivery by and the perspective of micro and small building trades, and the integration of energy improvements into mainstream repair, maintenance and home improvement (RMI) work, a considerably larger market than specialist energy efficiency work, and with potential benefits in terms of long term business viability and 'trigger point' opportunities. Linked issues of particular interest to explore are the role of multi-skilled general builders, and how micro building trade businesses can cooperate (both formally and informally) to provide the full range of retrofit needs.