400 public buildings given an energy efficiency makeover

25 January 2012

Hundreds of jobs are set be created and millions of pounds saved for the taxpayer thanks to the Mayor's programme to make public bulidings more energy efficient.


Schools, libraries, town halls and hospitals are among nearly 400 public buildings set to get an energy efficiency makeover through Boris Johnson's RE:FIT scheme. This represents more than £50million of investment into the buildings. Based on previous international studies, it is estimated that energy efficiency activity at this scale could represent the creation of up to 700 jobs*.


At a time when organisations are facing squeezed budgets, RE:FIT is set to see 100 buildings completed or signed up with finance in place by May this year. This is all part of the Mayor’s plan to retrofit London’s buildings - responsible for 80 per cent of the capital's carbon emissions - with measures such as photovoltaic solar panels, low energy lighting systems and new, efficient boilers on an unprecedented scale, whilst also boosting the economy and creating new jobs.


The Mayor's target for 100 public sector buildings to use RE:FIT is expected to be met by May 2012 with hundreds more to follow. Work is already finished or very near completion on 86 buildings which is estimated will save £1.3m of taxpayers' cash through reduced energy bills each year. Detailed preparation is underway to sign up a further 297 buildings in the next 12 months. These include schools, town halls, libraries and museums, leading to estimated savings up to £6m on energy bills each year and 36,000 tonnes of carbon each year - the equivalent of taking around 60,000 vehicles off London's roads.


Organisations using the award-winning RE:FIT programme can cut out the red tape and associated costs that would normally have to be undertaken before any major building works in the public sector. They can choose a contractor from a pre-vetted list that will offer a guaranteed energy saving upfront and pay back costs using the predicted fuel bill savings - making the overall project cost neutral.


The Mayor of London Boris Johnson, said: ‘Retrofitting London is a win-win, not only does it make perfect economic and common sense by cutting energy costs but it also reduces carbon emissions and stimulates the capital’s burgeoning low carbon economy, creating jobs and boosting skills. The ranks of public organisations opting to use RE:FIT is growing by the day and I urge others to also sign up and reap the financial rewards it delivers.’


The Mayor’s Environment Director Kulveer Ranger spoke about the innovative RE:FIT programme at the ESCO Europe 2012 Conference in London today, where delegates from around the world had come to hear about the scheme. RE:FIT is the only programme of its kind in Europe and now a number of EU countries have expressed interest in replicating it, including Belgium and Spain. RE:FIT was trialled on 42 buildings in the Greater London Authority group, including fire stations, police stations and Transport for London offices that have received the overhaul.


This has saved one million pounds off fuel bills collectively with some buildings seeing their energy efficiency improve by as much as 40 per cent. In January 2010 the RE:FIT framework was made available by the Mayor to all public sector organisations in the UK to use. The Mayor has leveraged in over £100million of public and private sector money to support the delivery of RE:FIT and building energy efficiency in London, including via low cost, flexible loans for buildings works and through the creation of a team of experts who are providing organisations with advice and support.


Innovative measures to cut carbon at Newham University Hospital NHS Trust through the RE:FIT project included the installation of a quieter and more efficient ventilation system using heat recovery and free cooling, which will enable the hospital to save £50,000 a year on its energy bills.


Kai Kin Lee, Capital Design Project Manager at Newham University Hospital NHS Trust, said: 'The key benefit of the project, for us, was that we only paid once we’d seen returns. The project exceeded the investment requirements set out in the RE:FIT scheme, and delivered additional operational benefits over and above energy and carbon reductions.'


Kulveer Ranger, said: 'RE:FIT is successful because it cuts out duplication and red tape to help public buildings become less energy wasteful. This is helping public buildings at the heart of our communities, save money on running costs and play a part in the Mayor's aim to use retrofitting to create new enterprises and jobs in London's low carbon economy.'

The estimated economic value for London by 2025 coming from low carbon goods and services equates to £40 billion of investment into the capital, which could create 200,000 jobs. As London’s buildings account for nearly 80 per cent of carbon emissions, the biggest low carbon economic opportunity for businesses stems from activity to make them energy efficient.


Building retrofitting accounts for 41 per cent of the overall investment the city requires to achieve the Mayor’s 60 per cent carbon cut by 2025. Investment in retrofitting could deliver up to 80 per cent of the 14,000 low carbon jobs that could be created per year and two thirds of the £721 million of low carbon economic activity per year up until 2025. London's public buildings are responsible for 10 per cent of the capital's carbon emissions.


Retrofitting these buildings with energy reduction measures will not only cut fuel bills and emissions, it is also a valuable investment opportunity estimated to be worth billions to the London economy, which will create jobs and help develop skills. It is estimated that by 2050, 80 per cent of the buildings standing today will still be in use, making it important that we retrofit our current building stock to make them more energy efficient.



Notes to editors:

• * This figure has been estimated using a range of international studies, including a study by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts found that every 1 million invested in energy efficiency retrofits will create 17.36 jobs, compared to the 6.86 jobs created by investment in the coal industry, or the 5.18 jobs if the same money were put in oil and gas. Similarly, the French Ministry for Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Spatial Planning estimates that for every 1 million Euros of investment in property-related thermal renovation, 14.2 jobs are created in the field of energy performance-related work. A recent study on behalf of the German Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau has shown that each Euro spent by the state on the promotion of energy-efficient construction and renovation, generated revenue of approximately 4 to 5 Euros in the form of additional tax revenue and social security contributions and a reduction in unemployment costs (based on the creation or retention of about 340,000 jobs, primarily in the local building sector).


• Since its inception, RE:FIT has been supported by the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) Cities Program, which is now a fully integrated partner with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40). CCI and C40 worked closely with the GLA on the development of RE:FIT and encouraging building owners to commit to using the framework. • The current 86 buildings complete or with works underway and near completion are: - 20 London Fire Brigade buildings including fire stations - 22 Transport for London office buildings - 10 Metropolitan Police buildings - 13 buildings, Royal Botanic gardens, Kew (with 4 additional set to be underway by end March) - 4 buildings owned by the University of London works complete - 12 buildings owned by Waltham Forest Primary Care Trust - Newham University Hospital


• In September 2011, the Mayor launched the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF). The Mayor agreed a £50 million contribution from the London Green Fund to set up LEEF, led by Amber Infrastructure Limited, a leading sponsor and manager of social and economic infrastructure projects. Amber has already expanded the fund's value with upfront commitments for £50 million from RBS and the company is expected to leverage in further amounts over the life of the project. LEEF is offering flexible financing and low cost loans to support public sector organisations with energy efficiency building projects, such as RE:FIT. For more information, see: www.london.gov.uk/media/press_releases_mayoral/mayor%E2%80%99s-%C2%A3100m-boost-green-london%E2%80%99s-public-buildings


• The Mayor has directed £2.67 million from the European Investment Bank managed ELENA (European Local Energy Assistance) facility to support a delivery unit to support organisations through the RE:FIT process, including building and carbon assessment, securing funding, procurement and implementation. The unit is run by Turner and Townsend, supported by PA Consulting Group. • RE:FIT has been awarded 'Best use of innovative funding' at the Building Better Healthcare awards, the International Green Apple Award for environmental best practice, ManagEnergy Local Energy Action Award 2011, Best Technical Project Government Business Awards 2011 - Sustainability Award, Commended at the GO Awards for Excellence in Public Procurement 2010/11, Highly commended for GO Sustainability Initiative of the Year.

• As a modern building London's own City Hall is not suited for RE:FIT but it is taking steps to become more energy efficient and has achieved re-certification of the Carbon Trust Standard. This accreditation which is reassessed by the Carbon Trust each year, stems from work to measure and manage CO2 emissions and energy use. City Hall has installed energy efficient measures such as lighting systems, voltage optimisation and smart metering, as well as encouraging energy saving practices with staff.

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