History Of The Carbon Free Group

The Carbon Free Group was set up as a limited company in 2007. It offered a platform for specialist trades, technology companies and SMEs with the specific knowledge and innovative skills required to deliver sustainable projects in the construction sector. The original companies comprised of Carbon Free Housing, Carbon Free Incubator and Transition Power.

The Group ran the highly successful 'Sustainability Explored' event series and has delivered more than 100 such events across the UK. The Group has also delivered successful, cutting-edge projects demonstrating new innovative products, technologies and testing the potential of the collaborative approach. These projects included:

  • The Pines Calyx – a multi-award winning conference centre that hosts the Carbon Free Group
  • Crossway – Kent's first certified Zero-Carbon house
  • Ecobarn & Furrows – Paragraph 55 zero-carbon house project's demonstrating the approaches and technologies developed by the Carbon Free Group
  • Applewood Residential Care Home – ultra low energy, residential care home for children
  • Walthamstow Fire Station – promoted as Europe's most sustainable fire station
  • Avon Tyrrall Boat House – built by Sports England as a zero-carbon, fully autonomous boat and club house
  • Brent Civic Center – the Carbon Free Group helped the design engineers (Scott Wilson/URS/AECOM) prepare the winning bid by specifying and designing the specialist technologies that helped it achieve the highest BREEAM rating to have been awarded at the time.

In addition, the Carbon Free Group has also helped develop carbon and energy strategies for a number of public and private sector organizations and entire communities, including:

  • Foot Locker
  • Obonjan Island
  • ARM
  • Compass Group
  • Queens Tennis Club
  • Birmingham City Council
  • Carillion
  • URS/Scott Wilson
  • Universities of Birmingham, Cambridge, Oxford, Portsmouth and Westminster
  • The Royal Port of Ramsgate
  • Kent County Council
  • St Margaret's Bay/Dover District Council
  • Finger Food Studios (Canada/North America)
  • Board of Change (Canada)
  • Rippledown Environmental Education Center
  • Red Stone Developments

The connections forged through the Carbon Free Group members created innovation space and commercial means for game changing technologies to reach the market successfully. Examples include:

The lessons learnt meant that, in 2015, the Carbon Free Group had confirmed it had much more to offer but need to respond to the lessons learnt. This sparked much interest and, in 2016, a new business strategy was developed to offer an approach not attempted previously in the commercial construction sector.

The previous 10 years experience indicated that a more sustainable and beneficial organisation could only evolve if the Carbon Free Group restructured and converted the Limited Company into a Not-for-Profit Community Interest Company (CIC) organisation whose assets and profits are used for the good and benefit of the community. The new business model links the CIC to its members and to innovation labs and funding mechanisms. Together with collaborative working, these create a changed landscape for doing business profitably and achieving social and environmental impact.

The Carbon Free Group is already demonstrating the approach and using the new model on live projects, including:

  • Glendale Ecohomes Ltd – 47 smart homes that are beyond zero-carbon and being built in Corby, UK – CFG is a major partner to the project advising on every aspect of build and technology approach
  • Resiliant Homes – Using innovative outputs of several member organisations to show that zero-carbon buildings can be built at a cost to compete with traditional build
  • Transition Power – A business model developed to deliver energy solutions to commercial businesses by combining onsite generation, predictive energy modelling, frequency response and battery technology packaged into a single Power Purchase Agreement, which reduces customer energy costs and isolates against TRIAD payments