Retrofit consortium wins £2.6m EU grant

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Plans to bring a new zero carbon retrofit model from the Netherlands to the UK have taken a step closer as £2.6m funding is secured from the EU…

The Energiesprong (Energy Leap) zero carbon retrofit model has been awarded an EU grant worth some £2.6m. The project, which is made up of a consortium of housing associations, contractors, and advisers will use the funding to establish legal frameworks and financial mechanisms to bring the system from the Netherlands to the UK.

Within the consortium is a number of leading contractors including Willmott Dixon, Mears and Wates Living Space, Nottingham City Homes, Accord Group, Affinity Sutton, and Peabody. The National Housing Federation, the National Energy Foundation, and the Energy Saving Trust are also involved.

The project aims to transform around 110,000 social homes built during the 1960s and 1970s into energy efficient properties. Housing associations pay for the refurbishments via a loan from the WSW bank. The work takes around 10 days and the four contractors in the Dutch programme must offer a 40-year guarantee.

Tenants then pay for an “energy plan” which covers the reduced cost of their bills plus the loan repayment, which should be around the same as the current spend on energy.

The “Transition Zero” bid, which was made to the EU’s Horizon 2020 funding stream, is expected to be confirmed next year, according to consultant and charity the National Energy Foundation (NEF).

The grant, which will run for three years, will fund a UK market development team. This will stimulate “increased demand for net zero energy refurbishment solutions and improving the UK regulatory, planning and financing conditions for such solutions”.

The Energiesprong project is set to focus on the UK and France first, targeting 5,000 homes in each nation. The investment will be used to lay ground work, rather than to directly fund projects

David Deans, spokesman for NEF, said: “Hopefully, this will lead the construction sector to offer new and better products: a net zero energy retrofit with a long warranty on the performance, and which is quick to install, much cheaper than what’s currently available and improves the look and feel of a house.

“The money won’t be used to fund Energiesprong solutions themselves but a condition of the funding is a commitment to implementing Energiesprong solutions to 5,000 homes in the UK and 5,000 in France during that period.

“If 5,000 homes can be achieved in the UK, this will enable the Energiesprong concept to be proven at scale, and should help facilitate a wider roll-out.”

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