Tag Archives: Retrofit

SOAS becomes first community energy university

November 2016: Congratulations to student group Solar SOAS who successfully achieved their crowd funding goal earlier this year raising £22,000 for their PV project, which has now successfully installed 114 solar panels on the roof of their university building.

Funds were raised from SOAS itself, the students’ union and individual donors, and Solar SOAS co-founder Hannah Short said that crowdfunding the project provided “a rare opportunity for interested stakeholders to become part of a climate solution”.

Solar SOAS are having a ‘solabration’ tomorrow evening at the Brunei Gallery to formally launch the project – full details of which are posted here.

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Major London housing development to be zero carbon from October 2016

April 2016: As highlighted in an earlier post – the GLA have just issued new London Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) and Energy Planning Guidance which sets out the carbon targets for new residential developments in the capital following the government’s announcement last year to scrap its zero carbon homes policy.

Full detail follows below – but a helpful summary is provided in the GLAs new Energy Assessment Planning Guidance (page 12) on the key takeaway –  new carbon targets:

Stage 1 schemes received by the Mayor up until 30 September 2016 – 35% below Part L 2013 for both residential and commercial development.

Stage 1 schemes received by the Mayor on or after the 1st October 2016 Zero carbon (as defined in section 5.3 of this guidance) for residential development and 35% below Part L 2013 for commercial development

Over the past few months, the Mayor has referred to keeping London’s zero carbon homes policy through a number of responses to Mayoral Questions (see references below). This new Housing SPG is however the first official GLA document which confirms the process for how the zero carbon policy is to be implemented. The full text from the SPG on Zero Carbon Homes follows below – with some accompanying  analysis:

Continue reading…

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Energy & Climate Change Questions to the Mayor

October 2015: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to: the number of London projects awarded funding from government’s Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF); minutes of the London Plan Energy Advisory Group meetings; helping reduce energy bills for Londoners who have electric heating; GLA loan to Tempus Energy; the impact of the closure of the Green Deal; minimum energy efficiency standards on London’s Private Rented Sector; support for the Governor of the Bank of England’s recent comments on carbon disclosure (and again) ; the FIT consultation and it’s impact on London’s solar industry (and again here); suppliers on the Mayor’s new RE:NEW energy efficiency retrofit framework; London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA) investment in the fossil fuel sector; projected returns from investments made by the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF); planning approval of the Beddington incinerator; a health impact assessment for Beddington incinerator; London Plan requirements for borough planning carbon offset funds; London business risk and financial exposure to a ‘carbon bubble‘; climate sceptic views; Greenwich Power Station update; LED lighting on the Great West Road; production of BioSNG in London; tackling fuel poverty; the rollout of smart meters in London; supporting London businesses resilience to climate change; and an update to the License Lite process.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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UK’s most sustainable historic building in London’s West End

22 October 2015: The Guardian reports: “Hailed as the UK’s most sustainable historic building, the Regent Street office scheme, 7 Air Street, comes with an ecological roof incorporating flowers, vegetation, grasses and habitats for insects, birds and bats.  The building has received BREEAM outstanding rating, the highest award possible from the industry body which judges best practice for sustainability in the built environment.

“It features solar panels, low energy air conditioning, LED lighting and a unique central energy centre, powered by fuel cell technology, which saves around 350 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, while providing power to 500,000 sq ft of commercial and residential accommodation on Regent Street, including the Cafe Royal Hotel and the 20 Air Street office building.

A previous post provides some additional details behind the fuel cell technology used.

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Lewisham domestic energy efficiency retrofit

14 October 2015: Lewisham seeking EOIs for a domestic energy efficiency retrofit programme, the aims of which are to:

  • Assess the scale and nature of the energy efficiency market in Lewisham and south east London
  • Identify methods and mechanisms to maximise take-up of energy efficiency measures

EOIs in by 4 November: contract start date 18 November.

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Further funds to RE:FIT to ensure targets are met

December 2014: GLA Directors have approved further funds for the Mayor’s public sector building retrofit programme RE:FIT. Directors’ Decision 1291 (DD1291) sets out that additional GLA funding is being directed to the programme to help ensure that its investment targets – as set by the EU funding programme ELENA, which provides the bulk of the funding to RE:FIT – can be met.

The DD states that RE:FIT’s Programme Development Unit (PDU) – which is managed by Turner & Townsend “is funded until 31 March 2015 by a combination of ELENA and GLA funding (a total of £2.781 million – 85% from ELENA, 15% from the GLA). To date £2.537 million have been spent since September 2011. Under current arrangements, the PDU will be working at full capacity until the end of December 2014 and will be in closedown mode for the final three months.” Continue reading…

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North London ‘Smart Homes’ retrofit scheme launches

November 2014: A news report highlighting a new ‘Smart Homes’ retrofit Project which provides “homeowners in six North London boroughs access to upgrades that can help to significantly boost the sustainability of their properties…The year-long scheme will be the first of its kind in the UK, and aims to make it simpler and more affordable for residents to install insulation that will help to reduce their energy costs.

Haringey Council’s website reveals that the project is one that was successfully awarded funding earlier this year under government’s Green Deal Communities Fund, details of which can be found in an earlier post here.  The project focuses on solid wall insulation and on Victorian and Edwardian terraces where simple, cheap energy upgrades can be difficult because of the design of the older buildings. Residents in Haringey, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest are eligible for the scheme, which is designed see more than three quarters of work carried out by local traders. The scheme is open to both owner occupiers and landlords (or tenants with landlord consent) from the boroughs and is available up to 31st March 2015.

Further information can be found on the Smart Homes pages on Camden’s website – and on Camden’s Green Deal page here.

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Lewisham Free Home Energy Makeover

August 2014: Lewisham Council is looking for “a home we can use to showcase energy efficiency measures. We will install improvements worth up to £10,000 free of charge to make your home less energy hungry. This might be insulation for your walls, roof, doors or windows; more efficient lighting or heating or even renewable energy installed so you can generate your own energy. You’ll get a free assessment of your home to help you decide which measures you want installed.”

The deadline for entries is 31 August 2014.

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Energy People and Society presentations

24 June 2014: A series of interesting papers presented at the first UCL symposium on energy, people and society include a number of case studies focused in London, which include:

  • District Heating in Pimlico: Analysing the social contract created through energy infrastructure available here.
  • Capturing the Social Value of Retrofit at Scale (a case study in Poplar) available here
  • Heritage and Environmental Values in Sustaining Heritage Domestic Buildings: A Residents’ Perspective (case study in Walthamstow) available here
  • Greenroofs and Sustainability: Energy, Performance, Time (case studies across London) available here
  • Urban Energy Landscapes available here
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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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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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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

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

How the Mayor’s programmes will respond to the forthcoming IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 5th Assessment Report; the Mayor’s “climate sceptic views“; London’s growing energy demand; £145k spend on climate change adaptation;  the amount of energy generated from waste incineration; the number of GLA officers working on energy efficiency retrofit; the amount of ECO funding that could be directed to London; the operation of the RE:FIT schools energy efficiency programme in Harrow; the RE:FIT schools programme in Brent; Government’s proposed changes to building regulations and its potential impact on London Plan energy requirements; the Mayor’s response to DECC’s Community Energy – Call for Evidence; the Mayor’s support for community energy schemes in London – such as Brixton Energy; publication of the latest London Energy and Greenhouse Gas Inventory (LEGGI); the cost of producing Using Local Powers to Maximise Energy Efficiency Retrofit – How to’ materials for London’? (report here); the terms of loans provided by the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF); extending LEEF loans to the private sector; details of the LEEF Advisory Committee; consultancy companies working on LEEF; the amount spent by LEEF; the number of loans given out by LEEF; rollover energy contracts for SMEs; Londoners energy bills; the amount of renewable electricity provided by Source London electric vehicle charging points; funds previously spent on adding energy efficiency measures to Metropolitan Police buildings currently for sale; developing a Fuel Poverty Action Plan for London; the supply of electricity to London’s electric vehicle charging points; the supply of electricity to London Underground; London Green Deal targets; a London Green Roofs map; the Mayor’s Green Deal assessment on his home; stimulating Green Deal finance packages; spend of the Green Bus Fund; funding received from the Green Bus Fund; identifying brownfield land in London suitable for sustainable energy projects; CO2 savings achieved by the Mayor’s climate change programmes; potential for the London Pension Fund Authority to invest in low carbon energy projects; when the next update to the Mayor’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is to be published; how climate change will affect London’s summer temperatures; new anaerobic digestion plant in Surrey; the level of waste being directed to the Beddington incinerator; the London Plan’s policies on incineration; the Mayor’s approval of the Beddington incinerator; if the Mayor had pressed for the Beddington project to develop as a anaerobic digestion plant; if the Beddington incinerator can operate in combined heat and power (CHP) mode; heat network around the Beddington incinerator; the growth of waste incineration in London to 2016; the role for future incineration in London; local planning controls and fracking; the fracking potential in London; details of the new RE:NEW domestic energy efficiency programme; targets for the new RE:NEW programme; the choice of the Capita Group to manage the new RE:NEW programme; GLA buildings that have been treated by the RE:FIT programme; whether the Mayor’s Environment advisor had visited the Kings Cross CHP and district heating scheme.

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