If you’re looking for those who are really pressing on with making large-scale sustainable change, you could do a lot worse than looking northwards.

There’s the Scottish Government and their attempts to hit stiff renewables targets (we touched on the community part of this recently); there’s all the local authorities in the North East of England signing up to the European green targets of the Covenant of Mayors; and now the North West is getting in on the act.

It’s not just the rural areas of the region where things seem to be cracking on nicely – the big urban player is leading too. And frankly, they’re not just getting round to joining in the pursuit of tackling energy efficiency across Greater Manchester’s 1.2 million homes at all, they’ve been working at it for a while, chasing a commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 48% by 2020.

We were pleased to spot ourselves in an article about Manchester’s City Deal, and specifically of interest was their Low Carbon Hub.

Retrofitting buildings both domestic and public and instigating district heating networks is the aim of the game here, and there’s some fairly complex finance behind the ambitions. A simple way of looking at it is they’re working on similar principles to how Green Deal finance works – which doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

Some of the planned works include an energy network for Manchester city centre, a solar park in St Helens, and creating heat mains utilising waste heat from more carbon-intensive power stations in the region for homes and buildings. This is merely a snapshot.

As far as our involvement goes, we’ll be doing what we’re known for: giving quality independent advice to underpin the lot, along with BRE. On top of this, there are other exciting projects we’re involved in Greater Manchester that play into the over-arching plans that make the headlines.

We’ve helped in devising their Housing Retrofit Strategy, and our Director of Delivery Andy Deacon sits on the Greater Manchester Low Carbon Economic Area Residential Retrofit Steering Group. A real mouthful of a title, admittedly, but one central in putting into action some of those ambitious plans previously mentioned.

Not only that, but we are currently sub-contracted by Ernst and Young to provide Greater Manchester with a business case to help maximise retrofit opportunities via the Green Deal. We’re staunch partners and believers in what the city region is trying to do, and it’s never been more of a crunch time to make these things fly.

There’s almost too much happening in Greater Manchester to cover off in one blog, which is all the more reason to revisit and expand on parts of the plans in future.

All in all, with the Green Deal coming soon, you should expect to see more green finance innovation up and down the nation, and indeed how it affects you right where you are. Do get in touch if there’s a scheme you think we should crow about here.