Mayor of London leads the way in making homes fit for the future

12 February 2020
  • New £3.6m fund is part of £34m package for Londoners, boroughs and public sector to prepare for a zero-carbon future.
  • London’s 3.5 million homes are responsible for around one third of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • 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.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched a new £3.6m programme to help the public sector cut carbon emissions and reduce energy bills by updating and improving homes.

 

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 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, said: “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. 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.
     
    “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.
     
    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.
     
    Last week, Sadiq 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. 
     
    Councillor Jayne McCoy, Chair of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee at Sutton Council, said: "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."
     
    Neal Ackcral, Chief Property Officer at Hyde, said: “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.”

Notes to editors

  • * Polling found 70 per cent of people questioned said they supported bringing forward the national net zero target from 2050 to 2030 – https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-climate-change-emergency-carbon-emission-cuts-a9280726.html
  • The way London’s ageing and energy-inefficient buildings are retrofitted plays a pivotal role in the capital’s response to the climate emergency. Most retrofitting in the UK to date has involved only minimal intervention – the installation of stand-alone energy efficiency measures such as loft insulation or replacement windows.
  • Retrofit Accelerator is part of a £34m package of programmes for Londoners, boroughs and the public sector to prepare for a zero-carbon future. The programmes provide much needed support for the under-resourced public sector to urgently retrofit buildings with insulation, low carbon heat and power solutions and more – helping to cut carbon emissions and save on energy bills. This includes Retrofit Accelerator - Workplaces (formerly known as RE:FIT) which enables public sector organisations, including hospitals, local authorities, schools, universities, government departments, leisure centres and museums, to retrofit their buildings and estates to achieve large carbon and financial savings.  
  • Retrofit Accelerator – Homes aims to transform the way London retrofits its ageing and energy-inefficient housing to create warm, affordable and ultra-low carbon homes. Working with social housing providers, its target of identifying funding and bringing to contract 1,600 homes for deep retrofit over the next three years will reduce costs and build the supply chain to roll out solutions across all tenures. A minimum of 50 of these ultra-low carbon homes will be completely retrofitted and performance-monitored within these three years so that lessons are learned quickly.
  • An independent expert valued the West Walk homes in Nottingham, owned by Nottingham City Homes, at £80,000 before retrofit and £100,000 after.
  • Social Housing providers can access flexible and competitive finance for these retrofit works through the Mayor’s Energy Efficiency Fund (MEEF). The £500 million-pound investment fund provides and offers a wide range of funding options to deliver new low carbon technology or upgrade existing low carbon infrastructure. Public buildings such as hospitals, museums, offices, libraries and universities can also benefit from the fund.
  • London has an established zero carbon target for homes which has been in place since 2016 and is successfully delivering significant carbon reduction from new build development. This target will shortly apply to all non-domestic development in London when the new London Plan is adopted. However, the Future Homes Standard proposes to remove powers from local authorities which would effectively force us to adopt lower standards and slow our progress towards a net zero carbon city. The Mayor is strongly opposed to this and has written to MHCLG’s Secretary of State to ask him to rethink this proposal.

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