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Manchester homes to serve as retrofit tech testbed under new partnership

Andy Burnham and Daikin's Masatsugu Minaka, courtesy GMCA

GREATER Manchester has signed a new landmark partnership with Japanese manufacturer Daikin that will see up to 1,000 homes benefit from low-carbon retrofitting trials.

The agreement, which GMCA claims is the first of its kind between a UK city-region and a Japanese firm, will see Greater Manchester become a testbed for new net zero technologies and services, with the aim of boosting investment and job creation in the city-region as well as addressing climate goals.

Under the agreement, between 800 and 1,000 homes across Greater Manchester will benefit from trials of retrofitting measures and low-carbon heating technologies, including air-source heat pumps, over the next two years.

The partnership is the result of seven years of collaboration between Greater Manchester and Daikin, which has seen several hundred air-source heat pumps already installed in social housing developments across Wigan, Bury, and North Manchester – the largest such project in Europe.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “This landmark partnership between Greater Manchester and Daikin builds on years of collaboration and friendship between our city-region and Japan. It’s a vote of confidence in our ambitious, science-based plans to become carbon neutral by 2038, and shows how we’re using our international outreach to make a positive difference to people right here in Greater Manchester.

“We want to connect the dots between decarbonising our homes and buildings, fostering net zero innovation, and developing skills in the green industries of the future. This partnership with Daikin will provide a strong foundation for more opportunities to bring those green jobs, skills, and investment to Greater Manchester.”

The signing of the new agreement took place following a visit to the Green Skills Academy in Trafford Park. The recently opened facility offers comprehensive training in a range of low-carbon technologies and skills, and will play a crucial role in Greater Manchester’s ambitions to become carbon neutral by 2038.

Masatsugu Minaka, chairman of the board of Daikin Europe N.V. and senior executive officer of Daikin Industries, Ltd., added: “We are committed to making a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of Greater Manchester and will continue to engage in public-private partnerships in the future, as well as bringing innovative environmental technologies to market in the UK and across Europe.”

Developing UK-Japan relations has been a priority in recent years, and in 2021 the Greater Manchester-Japan Steering Group was formed to explore how the city-region can increase trade, investment, and research opportunities. The group brings together a diverse network of stakeholders from business, academia, and the private and public sectors.

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