New £34m retrofitting programme launched by London mayor


A NEW £3.6m programme to help the public sector cut carbon emissions and reduce energy bills by updating and improving homes has been launched by London Mayor.

The Retrofit Accelerator for Homes programme – the first initiative of its kind in the UK – will provide much-needed support for the under-resourced public sector to retrofit homes with urgent upgrades and improvements such as better insulation, low-carbon heat and alternative power sources.

As part of the programme, local authorities and housing associations will be able to benefit from expert advice and guidance on large-scale energy efficiency projects.

Sadiq Khan has recently said he wants London to be carbon-neutral by 2030 and this is part of a £34m package of measures for Londoners, boroughs and the public sector to help the capital achieve its ambitious zero-carbon target.

The Retrofit Accelerator for Homes programme takes a new ‘whole-house’ approach to the property to:

  • Improve the ‘building fabric’ (walls, windows, floors and roofs),
  • Improve the heating system
  • Install renewable energy where possible (such as heat pumps and solar panels)

National polling shows that 70 per cent of people want to see the Government accelerate the pace of change by moving its current zero-carbon target forward from 2050 to 2030.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, commented on the scheme: “We are in the midst of a climate emergency which poses a threat to our planet and we can no longer delay the urgent action that is needed to address it.”

Last week, Mr Khan accused ministers of embracing the policies of ‘climate delayers’ by proposing national standards for carbon reduction in new homes that are lower and slower than those already being implemented in London.

“London’s ageing and energy-inefficient homes are responsible for around one third of the capital’s greenhouse gas emissions and urgently need to be refitted,” Mr Khan said.

“I’ve pledged for London to be carbon-neutral by 2030 if re-elected.

“It is an ambition which requires forward-thinking local authorities and housing associations to commit to this dynamic new movement to transform social housing and take a significant step towards London meeting its zero-carbon targets and help tackle fuel poverty.”

Londoners will spend around £3.5 billion pounds this year powering their homes.

Retrofitting helps to cut these costs and helps tackle fuel poverty.

Retrofitting social housing properties means that improvements can be made to whole blocks or streets of houses quickly and efficiently, driving down the cost of installation and materials.

Councillor Jayne McCoy, Chair of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee at Sutton Council, commented on the plan: “We are delighted to be at the forefront of an ambitious response to the climate emergency.

“Retrofitting these homes will enable residents to live comfortably and low-carbon, while helping Sutton meet its aim of becoming carbon-neutral.

“Being part of this scheme means more of our residents will be able to enjoy the benefits of this pioneering approach, whilst reducing our impact on the environment.”

By creating a demand in the market for ‘whole-house’ retrofits of this kind, the programme aims to pass on these solutions and savings to private homeowners too.

Future-proofed homes require less reactive maintenance and repairs costs.

Transformative retrofitting can also increase the value of homes; ultra-low energy homes retrofitted in Nottingham last year saw a 25 per cent uplift in market value to £100,000 after the works.

Neal Ackcral, Chief Property Officer at Hyde, added: “The UK’s net zero carbon target is an important opportunity for Hyde to rethink how it invests in its homes to reduce carbon emissions and address fuel poverty.

“It’s also a significant technical challenge that will require major investment.

“The Mayor of London’s Retrofit Accelerator programme is supporting Hyde to understand the scale of investment required in London, identify solutions for different types of homes and develop opportunities to deliver net zero carbon buildings cost effectively.”