Tag Archives: RE:NEW

Research Paper on Mayor’s home energy efficiency programme published

July 2014: The results of a study of the Mayor’s home energy efficiency programme, RE:NEW, has recently been published in major academic journal Energy Policy (which – for once – is freely available online!) focussing on the first major roll-out of phase of RE:NEW, delivered between July 2011 and April 2012, where 50,683 homes underwent a RE:NEW home energy visit.

The conclusions set out in the paper are quite stark and concludes that with respect to the programme’s engagement with households, that RE:NEW:

  • Visits do not generate significant pro-environmental behaviour change.
  • Visits do not overcome the barriers to the installation loft and wall insulation.

The paper’s author researched the delivery of RE:NEW in three inner London boroughs and provides a helpful contribution in understanding the limitations and constraints of the programme. The paper also identifies why the design of the programme may have contributed to the challenges RE:NEW faced in achieving its goals and also in engaging effectively with householders. These include:

  • “The RE:NEW programme and the specification of the visit were conceived at City Hall and were based on a policy intent of reducing carbon emissions, rather than as the result of demands or expressed desire from residents. As a result, the appetite for the programme, from householders, was questionable.”
  • one of the limitations of the home energy visit was the time constraint on visits. Visits generally lasted about an hour and this was due to a number of reasons. Most of the advisors were employed as contract workers and were paid a fixed price for each visit delivered…there was a focus on the number of visits delivered, rather than the length or quality of the visit.
  • the short visit length meant that advisors did not have adequate time to install all of the easy measures provided during the visit.
  • The effectiveness of visits, specifically in relation to encouraging the adoption of curtailment behaviours, was limited by the expertise of the ‘energy advisors’ who had inadequate training prior to delivering visits.
  • over 70% of the visits to the sample groups in local authorities B and C, the householder receiving the visit was living in rented (privately, council or RSL) housing and did not have control over the potential to install further measures.
  • the GLA and the local authorities were focused on achieving different outcomes from the RE:NEW visits. For the GLA, the focus of the visits was on reducing carbon emissions, whereas for the local authorities, the focus was on reducing fuel poverty, but these differing aims are not necessarily complementary
  • If an impact-oriented approach is taken to reducing carbon emissions then the focus of home energy visits may better placed be on high energy consumers, who are likely to be from more wealthy neighbourhoods and home-owners who will have the control over their properties to make structural changes. Though using tax-payers money to fund such work is unlikely to be politically acceptable

Overall, the study concludes: “Negligible savings were achieved as a result of the installation of significant measures. The impact of the visit on energy and water saving behaviours were also negligible. Overall, for these households, the impact of a visit led to an estimated average reduction in annual household emissions of 3%.”

The paper notes that some of the limitations of the RE:NEW programme have been recognised, and were set out in an evaluation report published earlier this year by the GLA (see earlier post here for background and link to paper).

A third phase of the RE:NEW programme has recently been initiated by the GLA.

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

June 2014: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:

Energy efficiency in the private rented sector; carbon offsets used by new developments;
How much energy is produced in London by decentralised energy systems;
heat recovery from London’s buildings; meetings with London community energy groups; total spend by the Mayor on domestic energy efficiency programmes;
Mayoral action following the publication of the government’s Community Energy Strategy; energy companies supporting the Mayor’s License Lite application;
progress against the Mayor’s decentralised energy target; the government’s new Urban Energy Fund; money spent by the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF);
hospitals using the Mayor’s RE:FIT programme; visits to the Kingston heat pump development; visits to the London Array Wind Farm; Ofgem approval of the Mayor’s License Lite application; local authorities using RE:FIT; the Mayor’s first license lite supply deal; feedback from the C40 Johannesburg summit; consumer redress to high heat charges on district heating networks;
ESCO deals signed under the Mayor’s RE:FIT programme; Mayoral support for the Green Deal in London’; Green Deal Communities Fund; costs associated with applying to DECC’s Green Deal Communities Fundgreen jobs created by Mayoral programmes;
low carbon sector jobs created; attracting green investment into London; the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group;

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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London Energy Efficiency Programme Scrutinised

March 2014: The London Assembly Environment Committee held the first of two oral evidence sessions on progress made by the GLA’s energy and climate programmes. The first of these sessions was held on 6 February and focussed on the Mayor’s home energy efficiency programme, RE:NEW. Evidence was provided by representatives from a number of organisations, including EDF Energy, the Energy Saving Trust, Hillingdon Borough Council and the Mayor’s Housing Advisor. The full transcript can be accessed here – and a webcast can also be viewed here. Points of interest raised during the debate included:

  • The RE:NEW programme is awaiting confirmation they they have been successful in their application to the European Investment Bank’s European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) programme for £2.6m to put in place a support team over a three year period starting from April 2014 (the RE:NEW programme support team is currently operated for the GLA by Capita).
  • RE:NEW is  currently working with Greenwich, Havering, Newham and Westminster, Hyde Housing and Peabody Gallions developing “bigger projects that would be more attractive in terms of bringing in Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding“.
  • Borough responses suggested that RE:NEW was “not very hands-on with project development.” RE:NEW is keen to find out what boroughs are doing but “there is very little support there for boroughs in terms of developing projects and overcoming planning issues.
  • RE:NEW should be instead be focussing on what the GLA could do to ”enhance [borough activities] even further if it wants to deliver ambitious carbon reduction targets
  • Further criticism was targeted at the RE:NEW programme stating that the funding resource was mainly going to Capita : “We see that the resources are actually on those people, basically, for the Capita resource. Local authorities are not really getting the benefit of that on the whole“.
  • An often confusing debate takes place on  how many homes were retrofitted through the RE:NEW programme and how many homes were insulated across London in total. A number of 400,000 homes is quoted by the Mayor’s Housing Advisor during the session. Though not explained, this number is most likely made up of the following: 327,00 treated through the Government’s CERT programme over the period April 2008 – December 2012 (see cell V35 of EST CERT data here), and 70,000 homes visited by the RE:NEW team and provided with ‘easy measures’ over the period July 2011-December 2012 (see MQ here for details). For more on this, see earlier post here.
  • RE:NEW Phase 3 has a target of retrofitting 175,000 homes.

Just ahead of the evidence session – somewhat belatedly – the Mayor published the full evaluation report of the main RE:NEW roll-out phase which ran from July 2011-May 2012 (a summary report had previously been issued – details here).  A second oral evidence session will take place on 26 March, focusing on the Mayor’s decentralised energy programmes, with the Mayor’s energy advisor, Matthew Pencharz, in attendance.

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London housing energy efficiency evidence session

February 2014: On 6 February, the London Assembly Environment Committee held an oral evidence session on the Mayor’s housing energy efficiency retrofit programme, RE:NEW, and its progress to achieving its stated CO2 targets. Details of the evidence session are set out here. A background paper to the evidence session is here. The session was available on webcast and can be viewed here.

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Energy & Climate Questions to the Mayor

January 2014: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:

the Mayor’s meetings with energy ministers; KPIs under the Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy; establishing a London Energy Cooperative; ECO funding in London; the number of energy suppliers signed up to the Mayor’s MoU; the Mayor’s support for the Energy Bill Revolution’s Cold Homes Week; Kew Gardens decentralised energy scheme; London avoiding the ‘capacity crunch‘; solar installations on GLA buildings; the underheating of Londoners’ homes; the RE:NEW programme energy efficiency targets; the Mayor’s concerns over Government ‘Allowable Solutions‘ proposals; insulation industry jobs; Excess Winter Deaths; insulation projects stalled under ECO; the stalled Affinity Sutton insulation project; RE:NEW targets; retrofitting and planning restrictions; renewable energy installations on the GLA estate; GLA funding to Capita to manage the RE:NEW programme; British Gas funding to ECO; the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group; LED streetlighting projects; CO2 savings achieved under RE:NEW; delayed CO2 savings under RE:NEW; the Climate Change Leaders for a Low Carbon London fuel poverty project; planning CO2 target requirements; meetings with DCLG; biofuel and London buses; GLA Environment Team budgets over next two years; Mayor’s application to the Government’s Green Deal Communities Fund; and tendering for License Lite services.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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London carbon targets to be missed by three quarters?

February 2014: At last week’s Mayoral Question Time, Green Party London Assembly member Jenny Jones questioned the Mayor over his retrofitting CO2 targets – which has  been posted online and can be viewed here.

Assembly Member Jones states that by the end of the Mayor’s term of office, his CO2 reduction targets, as set out in London’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy, will have been missed by three-quarters.

In response, the Mayor said that her comments should not be so dismissive: that he had protected the budgets for his retrofitting programme, over 90,000 homes had been retrofitted despite London’s population growing by 600,000 and London’s economy going ‘gang busters’, and that a 20% reduction in CO2 savings had been achieved since 2008. Ms Jones however promised to write to the Mayor setting out her analysis on the slow pace of London’s carbon reduction progress.

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City Hall Carbon Emissions Session

January 2014: The London Assembly’s Environment Committee is to hold an oral evidence session next week (30 January) on the Mayor’s carbon targets. A paper sets out that the evidence session forms part of an “investigation” into the delivery of the carbon targets, which will take place over February and March 2014.

At the evidence session – which is open to the public – the Committee will meet with Mayoral Advisors and GLA officers in the environment and the property portfolios, as well as external guests from the energy sector, local government and other external stakeholders to discuss targets to improve energy efficiency in homes, targets to increase decentralised and low-carbon energy supply, and general carbon reduction targets and strategy.

The targets are set out in the Mayor’s 2011 Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy and include:

  • Energy efficiency in homes and workplaces – particularly under
  • RE:NEW (a support team to help social housing providers and local authorities to enable domestic retrofit projects to be delivered faster, bigger and with better value for money)
  • RE:FIT (a building retrofitting scheme to support public sector organisations to reduce their carbon footprint and subsequent energy bills)
  • non-GLA work such as the Green Deal (a Government initiative that is designed to help businesses and home owners to employ more green technologies in their properties);
  • Low-carbon transport;
  • Low-carbon energy generation;
  • Tackling fuel poverty;
  • Reducing carbon emissions in the GLA group;
  • Measuring London’s carbon emissions; and
  • Funding routes, business models and skills opportunities in the low-carbon economy.
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Further support for RE:NEW programme

January 2014: The GLA has decided to seek additional support in its bid to DECC’s Green Deal Communities Fund. The approval form states that:

“The GLA is seeking approval to commission Create and Sustain Limited through a Single Source Action to provide services up to a maximum value of £27,000 to support the RE:NEW programme from November to March 2014.

The key aims for this period are:

  • to develop the GLA’s bid to the DECC Green Deal Communities Fund
  • to liaise with, and gain buy in from key stakeholders including London boroughs, social landlords and delivery agents as necessary to complete the bid
  • to work with the London Landlord Accreditation Service to develop the bid
  • to provide additional support to the RE:NEW Programme which could include:
  • finalising the MoUs with Energy Suppliers
  • support with the paperwork and processes needed to establish the project management resource if successful with the DECC funding
  • support a review of the RE:NEW Framework

The £20m Green Deal Communities Fund was launched by Government in July 2013 – details here and then, in December 2013, as part of the announced changes to ECO, DECC stated that the Government “will increase the funds available to local authorities this year through Green Deal Communities from £20 million to £80 million, to help support ‘street-by-street’ programmes for hard-to-treat homes.If London were to secure funding on a rough population basis – as much as £10m from this new fund could be directed to the capital’s energy efficiency retrofit programmes.

The RE:NEW programme is also presently supported by Capita (see here and here) until the end of March 2014.

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Energy & Climate Questions to the Mayor

December 2013: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:

a debate on how the Mayor will look to address the number of excess winter deaths in London;  the impact on London as a result of the Government’s redefinition of fuel poverty; the Mayor’s plans to help tackle fuel poverty (MQs referred to in this answer can be seen here 4251 and 3836); the long terms impacts of climate change;  RE:NEW targets to 2015; the Mayor’s view on the recent ‘Green Crap‘ debate;  the level of increase in London domestic energy bills over the past three years; funding to improve energy inefficient damp London housing;  windfall tax on energy suppliers (see following for link to answer referenced);  the energy costs to Londoners as a result of gas fracking;  Canary Wharf waste heat offtake; details of the recent £5.6m DECC funding to tackle fuel poverty in London; promoting low cost low carbon energy supplies in London (also see the following MQ 4254);  the impact to London as a result of the recent changes to ECO; supporting community-led energy projects such as Brixton Energy; the Mayor’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur competition;  opportunities for the London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA) to invest in low carbon projects;  thes costs of nuclear power (read Liberum Capital note referred to in question here);  London’s top 500 energy-consuming buildings;  Nuclear Power versus decentralised energy; the Mayor’s support for fracking and nuclear power; the Mayor’s ambition – as set out in his recent draft Housing Strategy to retrofit London’s “entire stock for improved energy performance by 2020″; the late publication of the RE:NEW evaluation report;  the Mayor’s energy advisor visit to heat pump system at One New Change; the Mayor’s energy advisor visit to the Barkantine CHP system; the Mayor’s work with the Better Buildings Partnership; the Mayor’s energy advisor’s work with the C40; the Mayor’s energy advisor visit to Islington’s Bunhill CHP scheme;  the Mayor’s energy advisor visit to the Olympic site CHP system; recent events the Mayor’s energy and environment advisor has spoken at; the Mayor’s view on Labour’s proposals for an energy price freeze; future funding for the RE:NEW support team; the Mayor’s comments on wind power; RE:NEW housing retrofit targets; the award-winning Bunhill CHP; the number of fuel poor households to be delivered by RE:NEW; London’s resilience to a nuclear power station radiation leak; fuel poverty advice given to callers to the Mayor’s Know Your Rights helpline; the impact on solid wall insulation as a result of changes to the ECO; tower block residents assisted under the RE:NEW programme;

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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London Home Energy Efficiency programme “significantly delayed”

December 2013: An oral evidence session between officials and the London Assembly Budget & Performance Committee (see earlier post for details) highlighted the slow progress of the Mayor’s domestic energy efficiency retrofit programme RE:NEW. A new paper (06a(v)) presented to the 18th December meeting of the London Assembly Budget Monitoring Sub-Committee provides some data helping illustrate the extent of the shortfall.

The current forecast for 13/14 (right hand chart) shows that RE:NEW is predicted to just miss the project target – however, the performance level to date indicated shows that even this reduced level of delivery is still some way off.  The oral evidence session (referred to above) in fact suggests that only 3% of the 13/14 target has as yet been achieved (996 tonnes of CO2 compared to a target of 29,416 - earlier post). Paper 06a(v) provides some explanation for the slow progress:

  • Delivery  of  the  RE:NEW  Phase  II  carbon targets  is  significantly  delayed  and  contractors  will  miss  their  obligations.   This  is  largely  due  to  delays  in  availability  of  ECO  (government  subsidy). Delivery  of  the  carbon  savings  from  the  interim  Support  Team  has  exceeded  targets  for  quarter  two
  • Performance  payments  have  been  withheld  from  contractors  and  the  funding  is  being  reallocated  to  the  RE:NEW  Support  Team  in  order  to  reduce  the  shortfall  in  performance. However, this  is not sufficient  to  completely  mitigate  the  lower  savings  from  RE:NEW Phase  II  and  this,  combined  with  a  delay  in  confirmation  from  the  European  Investment  Bank  for  ELENA  funding  prior  to  commencing  procurement  of  the  full  RE:NEW  Support  Team,  means  its  is  forecast  75  per cent  of  2013/14  carbon  targets  will  be  achieved.
  • The  targets  for  future  years  have  been  reviewed  and  updated  in  light  of  the  above  and  as  planned.   They  have  been  reduced  for  2014/15  and  2015/16,  but  an  additional  year  of  delivery  (2016/17)  has  been  added,  which  leads  to  an  increase  in  carbon  savings  overall – albeit  over  a  longer  period.

The paper goes on to report latest CO2 saving estimates of two further Mayor’s climate change projects – RE:FIT (the public sector building retrofit project) and the London decentralised energy programme. The latter states that “Significant progress has been made on several projects, particularly with regards the Lea Valley Heat Network, Lakeside Energy from Waste, Greenwich Power Station and the Kew Gardens Decentralised Energy scheme.

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Huge budget cuts planned to Mayor’s environment programme?

20 December 2013: The Mayor today published for consultation his budget for the GLA group for 2014-15 (press release).
The budget document states that a “new look GLA business plan has been published which includes a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) covering all main Mayoral policy and programme activities to be delivered by the GLA.” It’s welcome to see that amongst the 10 “major GLA programmes supporting the Mayor’s ambitions” [p7]  a key deliverable will be “retrofitting more of London’s homes and public workplaces, saving carbon and cutting bills”referring to the RE:NEW and RE:FIT programmes respectively.

Page 14 of the document also states that:
“The Mayor is continuing to work towards improving London’s environment.
Energy supply and master planning is key to delivering sustainable development for London’s economy. Investment will continue through a Decentralised Energy programme to help bring decentralised energy projects to the market.”

At the same time however, it appears from the draft budget that the ‘Development, Enterprise & Environment’ Directorate is facing a massive reduction in its funding from the Mayor. No separate breakdown for the ‘Environment’ section is provided, but the data (table below) indicates that:

  • The draft 2013/14 budget for this Directorate seems to be have massively overestimated  - the current forecast outturn being 25% lower than predicted. It’s not clear however what is contributing to this huge underspend.
  • The level of underspend must have contributed to a significantly reduced future budget for the department – from a forecasted £31.2m just over a year ago, down to £19.9m for the forthcoming year (a 36% reduction)
  • And the 15/16 plan for the ‘Development, Enterprise & Environment’ Directorate is down to just £10.7m – a 66% reduction from the forecasted 13/14 budget
  • The planned reduction in budget for this Directorate far exceeds all others, some of which – like the Mayor’s Office – will remain static over the three year period.

There’s unfortunately to detail whatsoever within the budget document on the specific environment-team spend, or of future funding going to individual programmes. No further information is provided on the KPIs for the 10 ‘key deliverables’  (as mentioned in para 1 above) – however – future RE:NEW and RE:FIT programme targets to 2016 were recently set out in the Mayor’s draft Housing Strategy. Additionally, an interesting exchange on the Mayor’s retrofit programme RE:NEW was recorded in a November 2013 evidence session on the draft budget to the London Assembly Budget & Performance Committee (see page 17 of transcript) – also copied below:

Continue reading…

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RE:NEW targets set out

December 2013: The Mayor’s recently released draft housing strategy states that “The capital also has some of the worst housing conditions in the country, thus prioritising estate based regeneration through improving the quality and energy efficiency of existing homes remains a key priority. To achieve this the Mayor will make available funding to ensure that by 2016 all council landlords will be in a position to independently resolve their Decent Homes backlog, and will support affordable housing providers to retrofit their entire stock for improved energy performance by 2020.”

Section 2.6 of the consultation paper directly addresses ‘Retrofitting and improving energy efficiency’ and provides some useful information on the Mayor’s ambitions for his flagship environmental programme, RE:NEW:

“To increase retrofit numbers under the government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and Green Deal schemes, the RE:NEW programme has put in place measures to assist all large landlords in London to identify works that can be carried out to their stock, procure the works, access finance and manage contractors. This support will continue until at least 2016, maintaining the momentum for the successor ECO arrangements. The GLA is keen to expand retrofit activity on a more strategic area, or even whole borough, basis. The Green Deal also represents an innovative way to finance energy efficiency works which saves money for individual households. The Mayor will continue to promote the opportunities that the Green Deal offers to Londoners across all tenures. As Table 1 shows, the projected rate of delivery in London is therefore expected to increase significantly over the next three years. “

All of this may however change markedly following the Government’s recent announcement that it will scale back the level of support going to insulation through the ECO as well as significantly reduce the level of solid wall insulation (SWI) installations: the boost in support to SWI systems was often quoted by Government as being a huge advantage to the Mayor’s retrofit ambitions in London due to the high prevalence of solid wall homes here.

Further updated details on the RE:NEW programme.

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