Tag Archives: Retrofit

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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Using Local Powers to Maximise Energy Efficiency Retrofit Toolkit

August 2013CAG Consultants on behalf of the GLA have developed a new toolkit – Using Local Powers to Maximise Energy Efficiency Retrofit Toolkit – “to help London’s councils identify and implement solutions to help attract investment and delivery for energy efficiency measures.  It focuses on three commonly cited challenges: planning, data and logistics.” The report highlights that:

  • The opportunity for energy retrofitting in London’s housing is immense: more than one in five of the U.K.’s solid walled homes are in the capital, as well as 14 per cent of England’s fuel poor homes.
  • Energy efficiency projects can regenerate entire communities, drive up housing values and engage residents in wider issues of sustainability
  • Retrofitting also provides an opportunity for pioneering local authorities to get an edge in the growing energy efficiency market and generate local jobs.
  • London has the highest proportion of properties in conservation areas of any UK city – around 500,000 properties. For these properties, planning permission is required for most works which change the external appearance of the property.

The guide provides some helpful references to planning guidance issued by Camden (also see here and here for further information) and Haringey to help support energy efficiency retrofit measures such as solid wall insulation. A further barrier often faced by retrofit programmes has been identifying the most vulnerable homes that would benefit from increased levels of insulation as a priority,  and the report provides some useful information on data-sharing initiatives undertaken by Southwark and Haringey councils, working alongside colleagues in housing and benefits teams, to help overcome this [p 27-30].

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London’s Energy Future 2020

June 2013: The Mayor has set out priorities for the capital over the following decade in a new publication 2020 Vision – The Greatest City on Earth:Ambitions for London. Examples of some of the challenges highlighted in the accompanying press release include that “London’s population will hit ten million by 2030. London also needs 400,000 new homes in the next ten years alone.”

Despite the Mayor stating in the report that “The country as a whole is facing an energy crisis” (see below), disappointingly, across the 84 pages of the report, little is said in relation to practical measures the Mayor will undertake in helping secure London’s energy requirements to 2020 and beyond. There is also no specific reference at all to climate change in the report or how the capital may need to adapt to changed weather patterns. The ‘Securing our Energy Supplies’ section (p44) sets out many of the problems – but few future actions:

“New homes and new transport links will put pressure on other forms of infrastructure, notably water, sewage and energy. The country as a whole is facing an energy crisis, as nuclear power stations reach the end of their lives and as coal fired stations are closed to comply with EU regulations.

For too long London has been reliant solely on the National Grid and we need six new £40m substations urgently. It is time to take much bolder steps towards self-sufficiency. We are reducing wasted energy – retrofitting tens of thousands of buildings and helping to reduce fuel bills.
London’s CO2 emissions have actually fallen by 13.7 per cent since 2000, and are now back at 1990 levels. Our retrofitting schemes have so far improved the efficiency of 111 public buildings and 82,000 homes.

By 2020 we must have in hand a project to retrofit every badly insulated home in the city, and every badly insulated office -not just to save energy, save CO2 but to save Londoners’money in tough economic times. As they have discovered in Germany, these retrofitting schemes can be formidable creators of employment.

A building the size of the Shard can use as much electricity as Colchester – and so we need to meet London’s energy needs as independently as possible. By 2025 we intend to supply 25 per cent of the city’s power from decentralised energy generation within London itself – and it is clearly right that these plants should run, as far as possible, on renewable fuels.

It is a little known fact that TfL has its own power station in Greenwich, and we are now working with the private sector to convert that station to provide heat and power from low carbon energy sources; and this could be the first of many.” (for more on this see here and here)

There is, not surprisingly, a strong emphasis on the creation of new jobs for Londoners running as major thread through the report. The Mayor has previously highlighted the  opportunity presented to London through the adoption of  low carbon programmes – a 2011 study for the Mayor suggesting up to 14,000 jobs could be created. Boris’s 2012 Mayoral election manifesto stated that 4,300 ‘green’ jobs could be created through his retrofitting and decentralised energy programmes alone. Despite the mention in the report (see above) on how Germany has managed to boost employment by adopting major energy efficiency retrofit schemes, though there are 55 references to jobs in the ‘2020 Vision’ document, there is no single specific mention to how ‘green jobs’ will be further promoted.

Finally, the odd factlet stated in the report comparing the electricity use in Colchester to The Shard (see above) was first used in a column the Mayor wrote in the Daily Telegraph in December 2012…and was disputed soon after.

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North London Retrofit SME Network

May 2013: Waltham Forest have posted details of work being done to establish a new network for ‘green’ SMEs.

“North London boroughs are working together to develop a network of SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) located in the North London area delivering energy efficient retrofit services and installations. The Council is working to promote uptake of energy retrofit in each borough.

The Council wants to build upon and support existing local supply chains to deliver this work. This will grow the local green economy and develop an SME/labour market that can be exported beyond North London.

The aims of the North London Retrofit SME Network are:

  • Create a directory of SME builders and installers who carry out green retrofit in North London. The North London SME Retrofit Directory is open to any SME delivering retrofit services located in the boroughs of Waltham Forest, Camden, Enfield, Haringey, Islington and Newham
  • Start a forum to hear from local SMEs how Councils can support locally delivered retrofit in North London
  • Create networking opportunities among SMEs working in the area
  • Strengthen links with local training providers
  • Sign post local retrofit SMEs towards the different initiatives offering support and training in this growing market both locally and London wide

To find out more about the North London Retrofit SME Directory and Network please email: minka.mcinerney@haringey.gov.uk

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Retrofit for the Future – London projects

September 2012: The Retrofit for the Future programme’s Low Energy Buildings database website has recently been updated. The database is a repository of low-energy building information created to help inform the planning and development of low energy new build and refurbishment. The website allows users to browse projects in the database, and create and edit projects if you have a log-in.

projects map highlights schemes funded across the UK and direct links to the 11 London based retrofit schemes follow below.

Eco Hub at Lordship Recreation Ground, Haringey
Hawthorn Road – Metropolitan Housing Trust, Haringey
Focus House
The Muse – Islington
Mayville Community Centre
Tower Hamlets Passivhaus Retrofit
Camden Passivhaus – London’s first certified Passivhaus
PassivHaus Retrofit – Princedale Road
Lena Gardens
Hounslow Passivhaus Retrofit – Grove Road
One Planet Sutton Retrofit

Further information on the ‘Retrofit for the Future’ programme and evaluation of the projects submitted can be viewed here.

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Additional support for RE:NEW

June 2012: The Mayor has released information highlighting that he is procuring additional consultancy support from the Energy Saving Trust (EST) for the delivery of his home energy efficiency retrofit schemes, RE:NEW.

The Mayoral approval form states that:

“Between April 2009 and the end of  March 2012 64,000 homes have been retrofitted, 17,543 tonnes CO2 per annum will have been saved and £7.3 million additional funding levered in. The budget for this programme was £7.8 million. Approval has recently been received to continue this work (with £3.3 million allocated in the GLA budget) in 2012-13. This would see RE:NEW delivery continue while funding remains to be levered in. In addition to this, it would start building up a pipeline of Green Deal assessments.

The approval highlights the shortfall in funding to London from the main national energy efficiency programme, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT):

“The fundamental barriers to greater retrofitting activity in London are the inherent costs of retrofitting and the number of hard to treat properties in London. This makes it difficult to attract London’s fair-share of activity through the current national delivery model (CERT), let alone the level of activity needed to meet the 60% carbon reduction target by 2025. The latest data, 2009-2011, highlights how little activity London receives compared to other regions (see table below). As London represents 12.8 per cent of the UK population London lost out on an estimated £100 million in energy efficiency funding over the period.”

Cavity Wall Insulation Loft Insulation Number of homes treated Percentage of homes treated
London 54,533 89,957 131,952 4.2%
England, Scotland and Wales 1,372,307 1,727,392 2,615,980 10.0%
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Sutton Zero Carbon Resources

June 2012: The results of a project undertaken to help define a zero carbon retrofit strategy for buildings within the suburb of Hackbridge in the London Borough of Sutton has recently been published. The project was undertaken by BioRegional, with funding from the Sainsbury’s Family Charitable Trusts’ Climate Change Collaboration and the three key outputs – the authors say – have been “designed to be replicable in other areas.We hope that you will find them useful for your own projects.”

The area based strategy for zero carbon buildings report seeks to determine:

  • How many and what type of buildings would need to be retrofitted.
  • What different approaches could be taken to retrofitting, e.g. energy efficiency, building integrated renewable energy technologies or district heating.
  • What would be the cost and delivery plan for the preferred approach, which may encompass a range of technologies.
  • To develop an approach for formulating a zero carbon strategy for an area that other organisations, such as Local Authorities, Housing Associations and community groups could adopt.

The Retrofitting District Heating Systems study interestingly found that “district heating (using a variety of heat sources) achieved considerably more carbon emission savings than the full traditional retrofit option (whereby a building’s energy efficiency is improved by improving the building fabric and installing energy efficient or renewable sources of heat and electricity in the building itself) and at a lower cost.” A heat map for Hackbridge has also been produced.

And finally, an Energy retrofit tool for buildings spreadsheet tool which allows users to “input information about the domestic building stock in your area and the tool will then help decide on the best approach to retrofitting it using an area-wide approach.”

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Update on RE:NEW

20 June 2012: A quick update on progress under the Mayor’s home energy efficiency retrofit programme, RE:NEW:

  • The Mayor recently reported that the 67,568 homes have been treated under the RE:NEW programme to date.
  • The overall ambition for RE:NEW is set out in Policy 6 of the Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy which states that “The Mayor will work with partners to use public funds to develop commercial models that catalyse markets to offer appropriate whole-house retrofitting of energy efficiency, energy supply, and water efficiency measures to 1.2 million existing homes in London by 2015, and all homes in London by 2030.” DECC has recently pointed out in its latest Green Deal projections paper, that this number  “is equivalent to 100% of the total number of homes expected to be retro fitted in the national Green Deal”
  • The Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy also states that “The Mayor’s ambition is for energy and water efficiency measures to be installed in 200,000 homes by the end of 2012 across London’s energy efficiency programmes.” [p128]
  • In August 2011, the Mayor set an  interim 55,000 homes target to be delivered under RE:NEW by March 2012, which was achieved ahead of the May 2012 election
  • In February 2012, the Mayor’s then environment advisor Kulveer Ranger outlined to the London Assembly’s Environment Committee the Mayor’s longer term ambitions for RE:NEW and that achieving the 200,000 homes “was always subject to the Green Deal helping to make that happen” and that the “figure , going forward, is subject to what happens with the Green Deal. We know the Green Deal timetable is slipping somewhat and it is not where we originally thought it was going to come in so we have to look at that figure and see what we can do. I am in discussion with Government right now, with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), with Ministers there, to say, ‚What do we do to ensure that we can continue more homes being retrofitted while we wait for the Green Deal to come along”
  • The Mayor’s manifesto in the run-up to the May 2012 election introduced a new pledge, stating “By the end of March, 55,000 homes had been helped I will continue this drive by extending the programme to retrofit a further 20,000 homes through RE:NEW, with a further £3 million from the GLA budget. I will prioritise households over the age of 60 for the scheme” which appears to suggest that 20,000 more households – over the 55,000 interim target – will be retrofitted through the GLA RE:NEW programme – but no mention is made of the 200,000 original target.
  • Building magazine reported only last week that “London mayor fails to secure funding for retrofit plans” stating that the Mayor lacks funding for 86% of the energy efficiency retrofit work on London’s housing stock that he planned to deliver this year, after failing to secure financial backing from the government. As part of his election campaign, the mayor pledged to complete 20,000 retrofits of London homes this year under his RE:NEW energy-efficiency programme. But he said this would rise to 145,000 if he secured central government funding for the scheme. But the Department of Energy and Climate Change has now confirmed that while “informal discussions” took place, no funding was agreed.Read the full article here [subscribers to Building only].
  • The Mayor has announced recently that he is undertaking a formal evaluation of RE:NEW which will include full details of the programme and that these will be published in July, and the same time that Phase II of RE:NEW begins
  • The programme spend for RE:NEW to date has been £7.8m
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London and the Green Deal

June 2012: The Green Deal Impact Assessment, launched earlier this week, highlighted how London is proposing to be a key player in the ‘New Green Deal Market’ under the Mayor’s plans for the RE:NEW home retrofit programme:

“The Greater London Authority’s (GLA) ‘Delivering London’s Energy Future’ strategy states its intention to retrofit 1.2m homes in the Greater London area by 2015 (this is equivalent to 100% of the total number of homes expected to be retro fitted in the national Green Deal). The GLA intends to do this by working with all the London boroughs to build on the success of RE:NEW, its refurbishment programme, that has retrofitted 11,000 homes to date. The GLA is working to integrate RE:NEW with new energy efficiency and energy supply funding streams, such as the Green Deal and the Feed-in Tariff, so retrofitting can be offered to all London homes by 2030.” [page 49]

Download DECC’s ‘Final Stage Impact Assessment for the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation’ here.

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Mass-retrofitting of a low carbon zone

June 2012 A very detailed piece of analysis undertaken by researchers at Edinburgh University (and published in the June issue of academic journal Energy Policy) which studies the work being undertaken in Sutton on adopting an area wide retrofit scheme in Hackbridge.

The conclusions highlight some really interesting findings relating to Hackbridge  which are also very relevant to other areas of London. These include:

  • housing built pre-1918 on average consumes 56% more energy and emits 41% more CO2 than houses built post-2001;
  • the older housing stock is the worst performer in terms of energy efficiency; the most laborious and costly to improve;
  • within the regeneration footprint, this type of housing makes up less than 20% of the housing stock. Nearly 40% of the housing stock having been built post-1970 is already benefitting from many of the measures proposed to save energy and reduce carbon emissions;
  • almost one third of Hackbridge residents live in areas which rank within the top 25% most income-deprived in England, renting their homes from the Local Authority, Registered Social Landlords, Housing Associations or the private-rented sector. Homes in the social-rented sector that have been shown to consume less energy and to emit less CO2 than other housing types of a similar age in Hackbridge. Indeed, using the Government’s Standard Assessment Procedure for the energy rating of dwellings (SAP), the local authority housing in question is shown to out-perform the national average ratings across all dwelling types.

The study also includes: “…while policy analysis over the past decade has done much to highlight the potential contribution mass retrofits in the housing sector can make to reduce the rates of energy consumption and levels of carbon emissions, they also serve to illustrate how little is currently known about the institutional arrangements towns and cities are currently putting in place as integrated solutions to the problems climate change pose.

Unusually for Energy Policy, the article full downloadable free of charge here.

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