i12: Retrofitting Homes with Energiesprong approach

6 supporter (+ 1 potential)

Our city has a large stock of terrace houses and other houses that are poorly insulated and use heating systems that are not future-proof (will not be sustained beyond 10-20 years). An integrated approach for this housing stock is needed that retrofits them and makes them future-proof. One such integrated approach is provided by Energiesprong (https://www.energiesprong.uk/). Energiesprong approach was pioneered in the Netherlands; it upgrades a home with innovative energy-saving and energy-generating measures, including new highly insulated outside walls and windows, a solar roof, and a state of the art heating system with ventive pods (a sort of air heat pump). The end result is homes that are almost net-zero carbon. This approach has been trialed with the UK in Nottingham and with great success (see here: https://www.nottinghamcityhomes.org.uk/news/news/more-ultra-low-energy-homes-on-the-way/ ). We suggest that the city council gets in touch with Energiesprong to elaborate on solutions for large-scale retrofitting of homes in the city. 

Decarbonizing housing is very challenging not least because of the old housing stock. Energiesprong offers an integrated complete solution to retrofitting and future-proofing old housing stock without too much disruption to inhabitants. Given the scale of needed retrofitting it’s best to seek approaches that can be applied to whole districts and again Energiesprong is offering this service. People are currently still very reluctant to decarbonize their homes individually because of the uncertainty, lack of advice, costs etc. An approach where whole districts are retrofit at reduced costs and with council’s backing will be important to get people onboard.

Response to Suggestions

  • Landlords: This is an important points, that landowners need to be incentivised to retrofit the homes they are renting out. Thanks for the licensing suggestion, I agree that this should be implemented, though not sure whether this would could be rather an independent initiative you want to suggest? 

Suggestions for improvement (2)

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Mandates for landlords

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Agreed that homes need better insulation, but we need to remember that Hull is a city of renters. Homeowners who live in their homes want to save money on their energy useage, but let's face it, landlords/agencies probably don't care about how much energy their tenants are using. They need some sort of incentive, or some sort of city-wide mandate that states that 'if you rent your property, you must ensure it is insulated/energy efficient/etc' and be able to prove it. It could also be a way to raise additional funds for climate action - as in the way Newham Council has. "Newham Council requires every home that is privately rented to pay for a licence. It achieved this power “after a consultation with Newham residents, and a lengthy struggle with Central Government. It uses the funds to check on the quality of the homes, which can include whether these homes meet minimum energy efficiency standards. With a growing proportion of people renting this is an important approach for improving the efficiency of the housing stock." The Guardian, 14 July 2018, Rented property licensing: crackdown on rogue landlords or money grab? https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/jul/14/rented-property-licensing-landlords 

The Nottingham case.

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I recently visited the project in Nottingham. This uses the EnergySprong approach but also uses a shared geothermal heat pump system to deliver heat. Residents seem very pleased with the outcome. I think one key point is that this approach is one of the least disruptive for deep refurbishment of terraced housing. Radiators may need to be installed or upgraded but otherwise internal finishes can remain. How you deal with the mixture of homeowners (right to buy) and tenants in UK is interesting as some will opt out and others be prepared to pay something towards the upgrade. The people in Nottingham are very approachable if anybody wants an informal discussion. Sorry I could not include a picture.

Issue #12

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