21 December 2020: Details of a new project by the Mayor of London looking to drive energy efficiency retrofit in the commercial business sector. “The pilot will work with a Business Improvement District (BID) to recruit 15-20 businesses (including SMEs) with the aim of delivering an overall reduction in energy consumption of at least 30 per cent over 3 years across the participating businesses. The businesses themselves will commit to an upfront 10 per cent target for the pilot year, which we will ask them to update with a more ambitious 2024 target, that is appropriate for their buildings based on the findings of an energy assessment carried out as part of the pilot (expected to be in excess of 30 per cent energy savings). Pilot participants will receive free support from technical experts and high profile recognition for those that meet or exceed their targets.”
This is a much-needed project for London, as policies and programmes to promote energy efficiency in business/commercial buildings are all but absent from national government policy – especially since the closure by the then-Chancellor of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme (see here for details). It should be mentioned that BEIS have been considering an energy efficiency scheme for small and medium sized businesses for sometime (see here) – with an auction type mechanism currently being considered as the route forward.
Further information on Business Improvement Districts in London can be found here. Initial discussions are going ahead with the Better Bankside BID in Southwark.
11 December 2020: A number of announcements made in this Mayor of London press release issued today:
- Public sector finances alone will not mobilise the investment required to make London zero carbon and help a green recovery. Sadiq has commissioned the Green Finance Institute (GFI) to explore opportunities to maximise the flow of private capital into London’s environmental priorities. This includes the capital investment required to upgrade London’s buildings, transport and energy networks to net zero emissions. The Green Finance Institute will publish their recommendations to the Mayor in early 2021.
- Further funding for MEEF (the Mayor’s Energy Efficiency Fund). MEEF, managed by Amber Infrastructure Group, has mobilised over £250 million of public and private capital enabling projects including heat networks and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Today the Mayor committed a further £8.2m of ERDF which will leverage further finance and further deliver on his ambitions for London. MEEF built on the previous London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF) – case studies of projects supported under LEEF can be seen here. Recent MEEF loans can be seen here.
The GFI work commissioned by the Mayor builds on the work undertaken by the London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC) Green Finance working group (of which I am member of) , the output of which was published in a report ‘Financing London’s Future‘ launched at an event at London Guildhall earlier this year (see press release here). Further information on the GFI-commissioned study here.
1 April 2020: Further information has become available on the Mayor’s latest iteration of his homes energy efficiency retrofit programme. Previously known as RE:NEW, the Mayor announced back in February, via the following press release, the new Retrofit Accelerator for Homes programme stating that it will be “the first initiative of its kind in the UK – will provide much-needed support for the under-resourced public sector to retrofit homes with urgent upgrades and improvements such as better insulation, low-carbon heat and alternative power sources.”
The GLA webpage for the programme sets out that the programme will:
- Help London boroughs and housing associations to develop energy efficiency projects at scale with technical and commercial solutions.
- Get started on 1,600 whole-house retrofits in Greater London over the next three years.
- Create a market for the low carbon and environmental goods and services sector, creating new, high-skilled jobs.
- Save over 4,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
- Unlock funding and low-cost finance for energy efficiency projects.
- Tackle fuel poverty by making homes warmer and more affordable.
The Mayor responded to a recent question stating that the “primary objective of the Retrofit Accelerator – Homes programme is to reduce carbon emissions. But its target audience (social housing) and approach to improving the performance of dwellings (deep, whole-house retrofit) means that many Londoners vulnerable to fuel poverty and living in some of the least energy efficient properties will benefit.”
A further question set out some further information on the targets for the programme: “My Retrofit Accelerator – Homes programme has a target of 1,678 homes being either fully retrofitted, in the process of being retrofitted or in contract to be retrofitted by August 2022. Of those, at least 50 homes need to have ‘deep retrofits’ completed and monitored during this period. Deep retrofits’ will take a whole house approach and reduce the carbon each home is responsible for by an average of 60 per cent and in many cases to near net-zero energy. For comparison these homes should save 2.5 times as much carbon per home than was achieved on average under the previous RE:NEW programme.” Some further info here
November 2016: The London Assembly Environment Committee will be holding an oral evidence session later this week – Thursday 10 November – on home energy efficiency progress in London, and the challenges faced by Londoners living in homes suffering from fuel poverty. An outline paper prepared for the Committee is available here – and the 10am session will be webcast on the following link. Evidence will be provided by National Energy Action, Friends of the Earth and the Energy Saving Trust.
The Mayor last month committed to preparing a Fuel Poverty Action Plan for London (see page 29 of following transcript of 19 October 2016 Question Time session):
“2016/3848 – The Cold Homes Crisis
Leonie Cooper AM In London there are as many as 348,000 fuel poor homes. There is also a clear pattern of increasing depth of fuel poverty in older households. Given these terrible statistics, what action will you take to protect pensioners this winter?
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): Thank you for taking this question, Dr Sahota. I am hugely concerned about the levels of fuel poverty in London and its increasing depth amongst older households, which is a national trend and is extremely worrying. I am committed to taking much more of a leadership role. I will look at ways to better target fuel poverty measures in London and produce a Fuel Poverty Action Plan for the capital.
My new Energy for Londoners programme will tackle fuel poverty on a number of fronts. I intend to set up a not-for-profit energy company to ensure fair and affordable bills for Londoners targeting those people who are currently paying above the odds for their energy bills. This includes households with prepay meters and those who have not switched energy supplier in the last couple of years. I will also reinvigorate and develop new homes, energy efficiency programmes and initiatives to both save carbon and cut bills. In addition, I will support the rollout of smart meters, ensuring that Londoners are supported in being able to use their meters to use energy more efficiently. While I am very concerned about the reduction in the Energy Company Obligation budget, I welcome the shift in its focus towards fuel poverty given the absence of any other national fuel poverty energy efficiency support programmes. Continue reading…
3 October 2016: London’s Zero Carbon Homes planning policy officially started on the 1st of October. Attending a recent industry workshop around the new ZCH rules – it’s clear that many organisations involved in the sector are still not quite aware of what this this all means. Hence answers to some of the most frequently asked questions raised follow below.
- What exactly started on 1 October 2016?
All new planning applications in London for residential projects above 10 units will now need to provide an energy assessment which will set out how the development will achieve a zero carbon status.
- When was this first announced?
There have been no announcements by the GLA that this new ZCH policy was going to commence from 1 October. Instead, information has largely had to be gleaned from new planning documentation and a number of recent responses by the Mayor to questions. The new policy and its implications were first picked up in a post on the Energy for London website here, following the publication of a new GLA Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) document on Housing.
- Where is detail behind this policy set out?
Three GLA planning documents set out the new policy requirements to some extent: they are the SPG on Sustainable Design and Construction; the SPG on Housing and a GLA Preparing Energy Assessment guidance paper.
15 August 2016: Following a comment piece in the Evening Standard last week, on how London is supporting the growth of decentralised energy, here’s my letter in response which was published in the paper today.
July 2016: This month Mayor’s Question Time included the following:
an update on a GLA study to evaluate the potential for the use trackside solar power production; Post Brexit, how the Mayor will use his role in the Brexit negotiating team to preserve the hard-fought environmental protections; the number of decentralised energy projects that are projected to come online this year; how the Mayor can encourage Londoners to switch energy suppliers; an estimate of the number of connections that will be provided with heat from the Beddington energy from waste plant to the Sutton Decentralised Energy Network (SDEN) – and whether Barratt Homes has signed a heat agreement with the plant’s operator, Viridor; whether the Mayor will respond to the Government’s recently released Energy Company Obligation (ECO) consultation;
work to encourage energy efficiency improvements in the private rented sector (PRS);
the RE:NEW home energy efficiency retrofit programme’s strategy over the coming year; the number of jobs linked to the green economy in London; the Mayor’s role with C40 Cities, and borough surface water management plans
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
Posted in News, Renewable Energy
Tagged Brexit, Climate Adaptation, Community Heating, Decentralised Energy, Energy Efficiency, Housing, Photovoltaics, RE:NEW, Sutton, Transport, Waste
April 2016: With the publication last week of the manifesto of the Liberal Democrat’s Caroline Pidgeon, all four major London Mayoral candidates have now set out their proposals in relation to energy and climate if they were to become Mayor. I’ve produced a summary of these proposals, across various categories of interest, in the following document.
The first thing to notice is the welcome inclusion of energy and climate proposals across all manifestoes: a wide number issues are addressed, but some common themes do emerge:
- The first – and most significant – pledge around energy to emerge from the manifestoes is that all four main candidates have set out their intention to establish a new London government based energy business. Zac Goldsmith references the work that Boris has taken forward over the past few years in advancing Licence Lite – but states he “will go further to set up ‘Energy for London – a new clean energy company'”. Sadiq Khan will establish ‘Energy for Londoners’ and both Caroline Pidgeon and Sian Berry state the will establish a new London energy company – Sian saying that this new business concern will be linked to Transport for London (the detail of which has been previously set out in a Jenny Jones commissioned report).
- Worryingly, no candidate commits to working to achieve two long standing London climate targets: the 60 per cent 2025 carbon reduction target and the 25 per cent 2025 decentralised energy target.
- All candidates are keen on electric cars, with Zac Goldsmith pledging to introduce Paris’s Autolib electric car rental scheme to London – something Boris has talked about doing since 2009.
- There are warm words for support for developing community energy projects in London – with most detail set out in Zac Goldsmith’s manifesto.
- Sian Berry and Zac Goldsmith haven’t given up on the Green Deal model – both propose to investigate a London pay-as-you-save energy efficiency retrofit initiative. Caroline Pidgeon interestingly supports working with London councils to introduce a ‘consequential improvements’ policy – a proposal that Government scrapped back in 2012 – a decision which significantly contributed to the eventual demise of the Green Deal.
- All candidates support increasing the number of solar power installations in London with Caroline Pidgeon and Zac Goldsmith committing to specific targets – PV capacity equivalent to 200,000 homes/750MW/a 10 fold increase in solar – all of which amounts to around the same thing (see Greenpeace’s London solar report) which has contributed to candidates consideration on the future of solar in the capital.
All in all, it’s massively encouraging that energy concerns and their relevancy to the future of London have been recognised across all main manifestoes. Issues such as reducing the city’s contribution and response to climate change, increasing energy affordability, and accelerating the deployment of measures to enhance energy efficiency and decentralised energy are promoted by all candidates, which gives confidence that GLA programmes in place, such as RE:NEW, RE:FIT, DEPDU and others will continue to be supported by an incoming Mayor.
Some omissions from the manifestoes which it would have been good to have seen including advancing smarter energy initiatives (such as building on the work the GLA are doing with Tempus Energy and Kiwi Power), addressing potential energy security of supply issues in the capital (an issue previously raised by the Mayor and an area of GLA activity through the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group), energy efficiency in the commercial building sector (a significant and difficult issue for Mayor, with next to no regulatory powers over existing buildings…), and how new sustainable energy activities going forward will be financed. However – despite these concerns – this has been a great start providing much to build upon!
31 March 2016: Evening Standard property section article and video on a new bespoke passive house development in Camden – which states the house has an annual energy bill of just £100. Passive house experts, BERE Architects led on the build of the home – and their website has further details of projects across London including a community centre in Islington (and here); Exmouth Market; Brent; and Newington Green.
January 2016: CIBSE Journal case study on on how “Camden’s Agar Grove estate is to become the UK’s biggest residential Passivhaus project. Max Fordham’s Bertie Dixon describes the challenges of building an 18-storey tower to the standard, and explains why the council is committed to the low energy code
The redevelopment of the Agar Grove estate, in Camden, is not only expected to be the biggest residential Passivhaus development in the UK. It is also highly challenging for the designers involved.
As well as having an 18-storey Passivhaus residential tower on a tight inner-city site, the development is subject to environmental planning requirements that are not always compatible with Passivhaus principles. For example, heat networks might appear to be a prerequisite for large housing schemes in London, which means incorporating a network of heating pipes. The heat loss from the pipework introduces an increase in annual ‘primary energy demand’,I which is limited in the Passivhaus standard, so the project team had to work hard to come up with an ultra low-loss network design.” Read the full case study here.
Camden already has two other developments that meet the passivhaus standard – Loudoun Road and Alexandra Road,
15 October 2015: New study by those excellent boffins at Ecofys for European insulation trade body Eurima which highlights that “Beyond the main benefits of energy efficiency, such as reduced energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency in buildings also has the potential to reduce costs and increase efficiency on the supply side. “
Why would that be the case? It’s due to the amount of heating that is anticipated to shift from gas to electricity (boilers to heat pumps) over the coming decades: