Catalytic Action 2: Retrofitting Manchester’s Civic Heritage

The Executive of Manchester City Council- in effect the “Cabinet” of the 96 seat elected body, has recently accepted a report called the “Call to Action.”

A London-based consultancy called “Beyond Green” wrote the report, which commits the Council to nine “catalytic actions.”

These are:

  1. World-leading neighbourhood regeneration

  2. Retrofitting Manchester’s civic heritage

  3. A business alliance for climate change

  4. Low carbon energy infrastructure

  5. Low carbon communities

  6. A climate-ready Local Development Framework

  7. The Manchester Prize

  8. Greening the City: i-Trees

  9. A green airport

We here at MCFly Towers think that these sorts of things go better with consultation. While we are waiting for the Council to announce just what it is going to do on this question, we will be posting one “catalytic action” per day on the MCFly blog, with a brief analysis. We invite the people of Manchester (and heck, why not beyond) to comment on these. We will pass on your comments to the Council.

That’s not to say the other parts of the report aren’t worthy of comment too- it’s just that we have to start somewhere, and here is as good a place as any…

So, here’s part of what the report says on retrofitting the townhall…

“One clear route to reducing operational carbon emissions is through our combined purchasing power and the potential to use this both to ‘green’ our own operations efficiently and to create a base of demand for the development of new technologies and services.

“The buildings that make up the Town Hall complex are of significant historical and cultural importance to the City. However, their design and heritage present us with particular challenges in terms of energy efficiency and carbon emissions. Under the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, large buildings that are occupied either by public authorities or by institutions providing public services are required to publicly display energy performance certificates.

“On the scale of A (best) to G (worst), both the Town Hall (Grade 1 listed) and Extension Building (Grade 2* listed) are rated as E.

“We are currently undertaking a study to look at the feasibility of financially viable, low carbon retrofit options for the Town Hall complex.”

“From the table labelled Box 6.1 (page 47) re: action 2, under the heading “Direct Impact” “High locally – major carbon reductions (to be quantified) and cost savings; low in citywide context ”

Presumably this is what was reported in the Manchester Evening News last Saturday (24th Jan), about the council seeking commercial property from March 2010 because of a major refurbishment…


Well, the Council DOES need to put its own house/hall in order, this is true. People always want to know if those who are preaching are also practicing, and the accusation of hypocrisy is the shortest way to end an argument…

But, again, given the Council has been banging on about climate change for a couple of years, wouldn’t you have thought they’d have got to this a bit earlier? I know it sounds churlish, but surely they knew they were going to have to do this, and it would have been better to grab the nettle a little earlier? Still, we are when we are…

Interesting to know how exactly the Council plans to share the best practice they develop on this.

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1 Response to Catalytic Action 2: Retrofitting Manchester’s Civic Heritage

  1. Pingback: Town Hall “transformation” – #Manchester #climate #toptrumps | manchester climate monthly

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