FutureFit Area Based Insetting (FABI)  

FutureFit Area Based Insetting (FABI) is a partnership project between Oxford City Council and Low Carbon Hub. It aims to explore how localised ‘insetting’ can be used to help fund retrofit projects across the city and support our net-zero goals.   

The problem 

At present 60% of carbon emissions in Oxford are from buildings, of which non-residential buildings contribute slightly more than half. However, taking the step to decarbonise is difficult for many businesses and organisations. They face barriers including lack of time, money and key information to make the necessary changes to their buildings.  

Low Carbon Hub’s experience through OxFutures and Energy Solutions Oxfordshire speaks to the difficulties faced by many businesses to enact change. Whilst keen to make improvements, lack of finance in particular can stall action.  

FABI will help organisations make these changes, providing a clear route to funded support from large, local institutions who wish to offset their carbon emissions.  

FutureFit Area Based Insetting   

Traditional offsetting involves businesses counteracting their carbon emissions by investing in environmental projects – usually around the world without any local links or benefits.  

The Area Based Insetting solution, developed by Oxford City Council, is a way for large local organisations to offset their carbon emissions by supporting low carbon projects within their local area – in this case, helping to fund energy efficiency improvements for organisations that will help them cut carbon emissions and save money.  

The approach encourages organisations to invest and support local projects within their own community, that will ultimately help achieve our city and county wide net zero goals.  

How it works:   

  1. A large institution or organisation pays to offset their carbon emissions by supporting low carbon projects in their local area.  
  1. During the pilot project Oxford-based organisations that have had an Energy Solutions Oxfordshire (ESOx) building energy assessment, can have their recommendations’ part funded, if they meet the funding criteria and an investor can be found who is willing to use their carbon insets on that project. 
  1. Oxford City Council will act as a broker between the businesses and the projects being supported to ensure the process is robust and transparent. 

The project will focus in particular on how businesses can support both retrofitting and ‘FutureFit’ projects.  

What is FutureFit?  

Low Carbon Hub developed the ‘FutureFit’ concept to mean a building that is transformed into its own resilient and flexible energy system, one that helps to decarbonise our energy system.  

The FutureFit service addresses:  

  • the fabric measures needed to minimise overall energy demand and prevent summer overheating;    
  • options for smart controls, generation, storage, and consumption of renewable energy within the building; 
  • options for integration with the wider community, locally-generated renewable energy, and the network.

The FutureFit approach, whilst including elements of retrofit, is about a whole system approach.  


There are several clear benefits to the FABI approach including:  

  • It focuses on reducing energy demand – crucial to meeting our net zero goals.  
  • It will keep offsetting money local and support local communities.  
  • Organisations will be able to see and understand what they’ve funded. 
  • It builds on the wealth of knowledge and experience from Energy Solutions Oxfordshire who conduct thorough energy assessments for businesses across the county.  

How to get involved 

Local organisations that are interested in exploring area-based insetting and retrofitting, are encouraged to contact insetting@oxford.gov.uk.   

It is funded by Innovate UK, Net Zero Living: Pathfinder Places programme.