Industry experts support 5 asks for government to rapidly scale net zero retrofit

Industry experts support 5 asks for government to rapidly scale net zero retrofit

More than 25 industry experts have joined forces to support Energiesprong UK’s 5 key asks for government to unlock zero carbon retrofit at scale by creating a functioning, self-financing market.

We need to retrofit two homes a minute by 2050 to achieve our climate goals.[1] Yet we do not currently have the solutions or scale we need to make this happen. Using its experience of delivering whole house retrofit in the UK, Energiesprong UK has identified five policy interventions to change this.

5 asks for government to unlock net zero retrofit

  • Net zero target for homes — now: Stepped targets to net zero are counterproductive, resulting in a piecemeal approach to retrofit that’s costly, difficult to finance and creates stranded investment.
  • £250m innovation investment: Five to seven years of innovation funding following the “commit and review” Offshore Wind Accelerator arrangement would kickstart and create a self-sustaining market to deliver our 2050 goals without expensive subsidies.
  • Zero carbon = zero VAT: Remove the VAT disincentive for manufactured energy efficiency products to unlock an industrialised approach to net zero and enable a level playing field for all housing providers — all at no net cost to Treasury.
  • Create secure business models for retrofit: Landlords need to be able to finance deep retrofits through combined rent and ‘comfort plan’ payments that align with energy efficiency grants and tariffs creating a fair ‘Total Cost of Living’ model.
  • Zero or low interest rate for net zero retrofit: Currently, the cost for financing net zero retrofit in the UK is 2 – 4.5%. Cutting this could unlock non-Government investment, stimulating a new high-tech British industry that delivers jobs and growth as well as healthy homes for all.

Industry leaders from housing, construction, public and non-profit sectors have added their names to these asks, including Ashden, Bioregional, Institute for Engineering and Technology, Kingspan Insulation, Lambeth Council, The Retrofit Academy, Turner & Townsend and United Living.

Aerial view of the Energiesprong Nottingham City Homes pilot project

The Energiesprong model is being showcased as part of COP26
Energiesprong is a revolutionary whole house refurbishment and funding approach for achieving net zero homes. It is designed to deliver zero carbon retrofit at scale, paid by energy and maintenance savings with guaranteed actual performance, comfort and costs long term. Homes are fully insulated using offsite manufactured wall and roof panels in conjunction with pre-assembled ‘energy pods’ providing low-carbon, high efficiency heating, hot water and renewable energy production delivered.

The result is homes that are brought up to a net zero energy standard, creating warmer, more desirable places to live — financed by energy and maintenance savings. Developed in the Netherlands, 5,000 homes have already been retrofitted to net zero energy with 20,000 homes in the pipeline.

NCH2050 Homes, the first scheme to use Energiesprong in the UK, is being showcased in Build Better Now’s COP26 virtual built environment pavilion as one of 17 exemplary global projects. Led by Nottingham City Homes and Melius Homes, this project is improving over 150 hard-to-heat homes, lifting residents out of fuel poverty and creating buildings that generate as much energy as they use.

The roof panels for Energiesprong Nottingham City Homes Pilot

Emily Braham, Strategy and Operations Director at Energiesprong UK said: “If we do not decarbonise the UK’s housing stock, we will not achieve our climate goals. It is as simple as that. While it’s been exciting to see retrofit hitting the headlines with the recent Heat and Buildings strategy, the time for talk is gone. It is time for the government to provide a strong strategy for retrofit and support the mechanisms needed to deliver it. These five asks are designed to make that happen.”

Rick Hartwig, Built Environment Lead, The Institution of Engineering and Technology commented: “In 2018, we called on government to create clear, consistent policy objectives and a national programme for deep retrofit and climate resilience as per our Scaling Up Retrofit 2050 report. This call still remains valid and we fully support Energiesprong’s 5 Asks of the Government. If implemented this will contribute to stimulating the supply chain to establish whole house retrofit as the norm.”

Andy Merrin, Innovation and Decarbonisation Director at United Living said: “The decarbonisation of our existing homes is key to achieving our Net Zero Carbon ambitions by 2050. At United Living we’re working hard to deliver whole house improvements, at scale, right across the UK. These five key asks provide the foundation our industry needs to commercialise, innovate and incentivise the supply chain to step up to the challenge and deliver a national retrofit strategy.”

Richard McWilliams, Director, Sustainability at Turner & Townsend added: “I can see first-hand how these ‘asks’ present a surely irresistible opportunity to transform the retrofit market into one that delivers an investible pathway to net zero for social housing — and a ready model for scaling to other tenures.”

Full list of supporters: Airflow, Ashden, Bioregional, BowTie Construction, Carnego Systems, Constructive Thinking, Daizy, Ealing Council, Gardner Stewart Architects, The IET – Institute for Engineering and Technology, Kin Collective, Kingspan Insulation, Lambeth Council, LETI – London Energy Transformation Initiative, Melius Homes, Monodraught, NIBE Energy Systems, Osborne – Public construction services, Prewett Bizley Architects, Q-Bot, Simble, SOAP retrofit, Soprema, Structherm, Studio Partington, Sutton Housing Partnership, The Retrofit Academy, Turner & Townsend, United Living Property Services, Ventive Ltd, White Hill Design Studio.


More on the NCH2050 Homes project here.

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