Good afternoon everyone and welcome I'm Madeline Gabriel and i'm the director of sustainable future which is one of Nesta's three missions. We're here to help the uk rapidly reduce its carbon emissions specifically by focusing on homes which contribute around 20 of emissions every year.
Now this is the fourth in a series of five events um talking to experts about this area um we've talked to people working in policy in finance new business models consumer issues we've talked to engineers who are working on heating we've even talked to historians and social scientists to see what we can learn from the past. Um but today we're going to be focusing on those people who are at the cutting edge so people are already deep in the world of decarbonising homes.
In this event you're going to hear from three carbon cutting pioneers and you'll have your opportunity to put your questions to them so you know what experiences can they share how can we learn from each other to support the uk's road to zero carbon. I'll briefly explain how the event's going to run and then we'll just crack on and so what we've got is three speakers i'll introduce them in a second they'll each give a short presentation and and then i'll ask them a question or two and once the three presentations are done we'll turn to audience questions and so i'd really encourage you to start thinking about those as you hear the presentations please do put them in the chat and we'll get through as many of those as possible. Um we'll stop as close to possible as possible to 2pm and let you go and have your lunch um so let's crack on um.
I'll introduce the speakers, I'm really pleased first of all to be joined by Emily Braham from energy sprong uk um emily has an msc in area-based retrofit she's got 16 years of experience in the social housing sector and she's been working on some of the uk's most innovative retrofit schemes and she is passionate about using collective action to drive energy efficiency in the sector and she brings hands-on knowledge and creative thinking to help solve our net zero challenges welcome emily.
Secondly we have andy sutton he's the co-founder of Sero alongside ceo james he's also the chief innovation officer responsible for the full breadth of sarah's activities ranging from research to digital product development and he's also a chartered architect and past president of the royal society of architects in wales welcome andy it's great to have you.
and finally we've got charlie baker director of red cooperative um red are design and build retrofit specialists um and they aim to make retrofit aspirational through high quality design and specification um they're also trying to improve standards across the sector they've co-authored several reports on retrofit standards and finance and established the retrofit pattern book to help share best practice ideas in retrofit welcome charlie good to have you
Right emily we're going to turn to you first um so i'll let you do your presentation and then afterwards we'll have a quick chat great thank you madeline so i'm gonna just uh share my slides fantastic so yeah i'm emily brown energy sprung uk and i'm going to talk a bit about lessons from the first um energy sprung pilots in the uk but firstly just a brief introduction to how energy sprung came about and what it actually means uh it means energy leap in dutch and the model came from the netherlands uh around 2014 it started and in 2015 a group of people from the uk took a coach to the netherlands um to go and have a look at this this neighborhood approach to industrialized retrofit and we saw these dutch companies delivering uh industrialized components creating homes that looked like new build from from old homes and they were doing it at scale so the image you see there on this on the slide is one of the neighborhoods that they were doing uh around that time and that inspired us to set up energy sprung uk to try and support a rapid scale up of net zero retrofit in the uk and to try and solve some of the challenges that we see in the uk at the moment and my slide says we've got to uh we've got to deliver two homes per minute to achieve our 20 50 targets but actually i think energy systems catapult have just done some research that says that's more like eight homes and every time we check in on this number the situation gets worse we really need to rapidly scale up for retrofit that's eight homes per minute now that's that's a huge undertaking and not only are we not doing this fast enough at the moment but we're not doing it to the right standards so when we go in and do retrofit frequently we do single measures and they don't get us close enough to our net zero targets and although there are discussions at the moment about heat pumps being suitable for the majority of properties if we were to just change all homes to heat pumps and assume that the grid would decarbonize sufficiently we'd have challenges with fuel poverty with costs going up we'd have inefficient heat pumps we'd have pressure on the grid at peak times so the energy sprung vision here is that we have at least a large segment of uk homes that achieve net zero targets and they do that through an industrialized retrofit approach we have boom and bust grant funding and we're heavily relying on grant to fund our retrofit mission at the moment and we need to move away from that we need to reduce that reliance and use smaller amounts of grant to get to where we need to get to so the energy spring model has a business case that sits behind it where the energy and maintenance savings over a 30-year period are capitalized to fund the cost of of the project and we have a craft-based construction industry which is is not diverse in its aging workforce it's not appealing and that isn't going to scale rapidly enough to be able to deliver these eight homes per minute particularly if we have to go back in and that that number becomes higher because we're not doing everything in one go and finally we've got slow uh slow work on site disruptive work for occupiers which makes it unappealing people don't want to buy a retrofit in the same way they want to buy kitchen at the moment and we need to change that we need to make these more of an aspirational um an aspirational thing that people want to buy into
so energy sprung as i've said it's a it's a um it's got a business model that sits behind it it's got a guaranteed performance which makes that business case viable so the solution provider which is a new role which addresses the fragmentation that we see often in the retrofit market they're responsible for the design the delivery and then a performance warranty for a long period which enables those savings in energy and maintenance to be used and to be borrowed against by a housing provider which is where we're launching this in the uk at the moment and it's about doing the whole thing in one go so a housing provider will have a budget in to repair or to replace their roof and their windows but it's about saying if you if you spend that money now in a different way and leap your home forward to 2050 standards and provide a warm and comfortable home for your occupiers now actually that money will go further
and there's a focus on people as well so the guarantee is not just about the maintenance cost but it's also about the comfort and the energy bills for the residents and if you think of this a bit like a mobile phone bundle so the residents are able to use as much energy as they want they can spend more money they can use more energy but actually there's a guaranteed performance which enables everybody to to live in a home comfortably for a maximum price
so now i'm going to talk a bit about the uk pilots and some lessons from these with a view to how those lessons uh sort of come come to pass if we're going to actually scale retrofit so these are lessons around how how to scale uh net zero retrofit we've stretched it a bit as the good the bad and the ugly um the image the big image there is from nottingham so that was the first uk energy spawn pilot and i was heavily involved in that because i was a head of energy at nottingham city homes at the time and so the lessons i i will share are from that project but the other two images are from the second project which just shows the different type of solutions that can be retrofitted this isn't a one size fits all and these are the nottingham properties before the retrofit and my first lesson which is a good lesson i think i think we did well with this is is to pick the right archetypes so as i touched on earlier i think if we were to think about how do we get our whole portfolio across the uk our whole housing stock to net zero there are some properties that will not get there there are properties in conservation zones which absolutely require that more craft-based traditional approach to retrofitting more bespoke solutions but there's also a huge segment of properties that could have an industrialized retrofit sector uh launched on that basis um and we think these are the types of property so as you can see on the right hand side those those houses are bungalows and some of the residents who lived in in there one of the biggest impacts for them it wasn't the energy it was the aesthetic improvements one of the residents said my house used to look like a rabbit hutch um and now it's absolutely fantastic and then we had the the first supply chain event when we were starting to launch the tender people thought these were sheds they didn't realize that these were homes that people were living in so if you pick the right archetypes there's a huge value on top of the energy of the regeneration that can be um achieved through doing this kind of whole building retrofit to 2050 standards historic maintenance and i think a lot of organizations delivering under the social housing decarbonisation fund are finding this now that you pick the properties that have big budgets available for maintenance you pick the properties that are the worst performing and often those properties have been identified as being in a program for retrofit so things will not have happened over the last five or ten years that should have done and we've found properties that have holes in moves and buckets collecting water we've found properties where floors are rotten because the the path on the side of the building has been laid to fall in the wrong direction or it breaches the damp proof course and not only are there cost implications of those types of repairs needing to be carried out but there's also a program impact so we need to build into our retrofit planning sufficient time to actually identify these issues and then to rectify them before the energy efficiency work starts and then the last one the ugly was a bit of a bit of an error really in this one and i think it's just important to recognize that sometimes these things go wrong so this was an asbestos issue and due to lack of consistency within different contract documents this fell between the client and the solution provider and and what occurred in the end was somebody drilling through asbestos which caused a big delay and it caused some challenges with residents who are living in properties and i think with industrialized retrofit a delay is more of a challenge because you've got a road closure booked you've got a manufacturing slot booked and when you find something that occurs that occurs just before you're due to start on site with some of those more intensive pieces of work and knock on a delay can have a huge knock-on impact on costs and then and sort of require you to put things much further back um this is the drawing so these are panels being craned on and you can see there's a difference the big one is a second phase so there's about five phases of this particular project in nottingham um you can see on the bottom right the panel going on has no windows but on the big image it has got windows in and each of these phases uh shows continuous improvement which i'll come back to in a second so the the good lessons the good learning on this one um tenant focus so we engaged there were only ten homes we managed to engage the tenants very intensively at the start of the project and we asked them what was good about living in their home and what was bad about living in their home what they'd change and their feedback informed the um the tender process so they were able to say things like actually we most of our living is on a floor uh which is not the ground floor so if people want to come and knock on our door we can't hear them so doorbell would be really helpful and a downstairs outdoor tap to water plants and they're things that you wouldn't know about and they're relatively small costs but actually they made a big difference to the residents living there and by doing that the residents were really engaged with the project and really felt ownership so when there are inevitable delays in innovation projects it was much easier to manage that relationship so i said i come back to the uh continuous improvement and we set out having gone to the netherlands and seeing this inspirational approach where people were buying retrofit whole house products we came back thinking we could buy the same thing so our tender exercise was structured around being able to procure these solutions and reality these solutions didn't exist in the uk and what we should have been procuring was a partner to develop the solutions and it's a slightly different approach it starts the relationship and the contract in a different way and it gives people a better understanding of the uh the risk and how to manage that across the different parties the energy sprung uk innovation partnership is reflecting that learning so we're setting up a um an innovation partnership under the gla which is in operation now and it's an innovative procurement that allows the housing provider and the solution provider to work together through a process of design prototyping piloting and then scaling up and subject to successful scale up they then get onto a 10 billion pound framework where anybody can buy a retrofit product that's been tried and tested so so that will exist in the future but at the moment uh there is now a better recognition of how these risks are being shared and managed and the sort of collaborative approach to working out some of these challenges and that feeds into the next point which is around having contingency for innovation and we didn't have sufficient contingency on this project and at the moment the grant funding that we have in the uk is structured in such a way that we have to innovate whilst projects alive and we've got tenants in properties and that's challenging it's challenging from a time frame perspective and it's also challenging in terms of actually getting the innovation trialled and tested and then implementing something you know is going to work so in this project the first energy center that was installed didn't work well enough and whilst that was a solution provider um risk in reality the solution provider was an sme and therefore that risk actually fell to the client so it was really important for the client to have been a bit more aware of that to begin with final slide on um lessons and then i'll draw to a close so um this is an image of what it looked like afterwards so huge impact on the area so aesthetics was a big win for this project commissioning and behavior change so there were some performance challenges initially with this project and partly that was down to a very long commissioning process because of the level of innovation with the energy center that was included which took all the homes off grid and had just one grid connection so some really complex equipment there and then also behavior change impacted on this on the early performance challenges and there are still some ongoing challenges with behaviour change where some of the residents are struggling to get on board with um you know temperatures not being as hot on their radiators and i think technical solutions are needed so that when radiators aren't hot to the touch people can still understand that their home is warm they need something visual or something that they can touch to see that things are still warm or to feel that things are still warm and um ongoing management and maintenance i've got this as this sort of last one the everyone because this is really a big structural change that's required so we are doing these projects for net zero homes um but after the project somebody has to manage these and they have to maintain them and we don't yet have the kind of infrastructure that's required to do that so if you look at a car um the automotive industry you've obviously got lots of garages set up that are accredited with manufacturers to be able to provide servicing that maintains a warranty that doesn't yet happen in housing and that requires a big structural change and it requires scale and it's a bit of a chicken and egg it won't come until the scale so that's one of the things we need to collectively tackle i had one final slide which um i will touch on but really it's about asks that we've identified for government which are policy changes that are needed to unlock net zero retrofit at scale so this is about carving out net zero targets for those properties that can achieve it around investing in innovation so they innovative products can be fed into live projects zero carbon should mean zero vat secure business models such as the energy sprung one and then also much lower borrowing rates for this type of infrastructure project and that's um that's it for me and hopefully we can discuss more in the questions thank you it's fantastic thanks so much i think there's loads of things that i'd quite like to pick up about that and i think there's already some useful comments in the chat so what i'm going to do is go to the other presentations first and then we'll come back and discuss as a group so that we've got time to pick up everyone's questions thank you um andy can i pass over to you to do your presentation of course uh thanks everyone and thanks fascinating to watch the previous one so if i click on these correctly there we are so hi i'm andy i'm an architect by training i'm chief innovation officer at cerro and one of the two co-founders so um quite a lot to rattle through as will be the case with all the speakers today i'm sure i'll start by explaining who we are um cerro was founded in 2017 with a mission to deliver net zero carbon across both new and existing homes we're a certified b corp so we're trying to deliver net zero carbon in the right way with all the appropriate ethics and of course part of that is a living wage employer and there's around about 50 in the team now we're expecting that to double or a little more than double during the course of 2022. part of that doubling is as a result of investment from legal in general and from hodge bank who are a welsh-based charitably owned bank that's helping us expand and therefore fuel more growth for support for more homes to get more people on the journey to net zero we've also as you can see from the bottom of the slides there i've been fortunate enough to win and be selected for a few accelerators and launch pads and prizes and all that kind of stuff which is which is brilliant
before i talk about what we're doing i'll spare two slides to say that we get a bit fussy about net zero carbon um and the reason we get fussy about that is because there's a lot of different types of approaches to get to net zero and many of them look at net zero energy and some of them look at net zero energy for just regulated emissions so heating or sometimes heating and hot water when we talk about net zero carbon we talk about measured in carbon and we talk about the entire impact of the home including what would be loosely called plug-in appliances so the people that plug things in and operate their home need to be counted as part of that impact for that home so to use a catch phrase homes with humans and the reason that's really important is expressed by two graphs one of them is the graph on the left at the moment and that's showing the decarbonization of the energy grid the national grid has been doing some great work decarbonising in the past decade or 15 years or so and it continues and we should be working in harmony with the grid to deliver that the second of the gr of the graphs shows the variability of electrical carbon impacts so it's primarily true of electricity but true of all energy forms to some degree um and this is uh 24 hours expressed as carbon impacts for the same energy for one kilowatt hour of electricity so what that shows or what that endeavors to show is when the energy is drawn from the grid or indeed when the energy is pushed to the grid if you've got renewables on site makes an incredible difference to the carbon impact that that energy has so all the things we'll talk about in the following slides are based on the underlying calculation engines that we've been developing and building and continue to refine that actually assess the impact of when the energy is drawn to or from the grid and the carbon equivalent of that so we've got a carbon engine that's trying to figure out whether we're getting to net zero carbon rather than using energy as a proxy because as that graph shows it doesn't really have a one-to-one relationship so it's mostly a talk about retrofit but you can't really talk about retrofit without covering off the easy bid at the start because every home we build becomes at the moment a retrofit problem um we're building well allegedly across the uk we build around about 200 000 homes a year and uh uk government has been promoting to try and get that to 300 000. as it stands every single one of those will need retrofit to get to net zero carbon that's an absurd situation and we've been working with partners uh to try and get homes to be delivered to a net zero carbon standard now how we do that is by looking at grid decarbonization um and where that is going and working out what a sensible pragmatic specification for the home is that we'll get to net zero carbon in harmony with the grid in the future so the homes we partner with and as it says on the slide we've got about 500 on site at the moment aren't net zero carbon the day they're built but without any retrofit they will become net zero carbon at some point in the 2030s because they effectively ride the last bit of the journey by working in harmony with the grid so those are on site at the moment that's a slightly old photograph now most of those are built out but that site continues to build and we've got other sites working with partners across all tenure types so private developers social landlords councils we're working with all of them on new build we've published freely what we think a net zero carbon specification is and you can get that from our website and that's available in relatively plain language at least for the construction industry to understand what we'd expect to see in a home that's going to genuinely deliver net zero carbon beyond necessarily net zero energy and including of course humans in those homes so the real focus for today is to explain what we're doing around retrofit and we're working primarily in wales at the moment although we are expanding out across the rest of the uk uh at the end of last year and a big exercise for us during this year we've got around about 3 000 homes having some degree of retrofit measures installed at the moment split between just over i think now 30 social landlords again primarily in wales but increasingly across into england and beyond all of those are looking at a planned intervention approach which i'll talk about at the end with how we support all of these things with pobble wales it's largest social landlord we're refitting retrofitting 650 homes where we're looking at a mechanism to recover some of the costs to support the residents getting an energy bill saving especially important at the moment with the chaos happening in the energy markets but also generate some return to pay for those retrofit measures to support that happening as a net capital uh through a special purpose vehicle to to pay the capital back and then lastly we're working with uh about half a dozen at the moment financial institutions but that number's creeping up um to work how to engage with residents who've got mortgages on their homes homeowner occupiers and support them to start going on their journey for their homes to get to net zero carbon
a big part of the project we're doing in retrofit is a program that we've put together of that collaboration called optimized retrofit this has a large proportion of those several thousand homes included within it it's funded by welsh government who've grant funded social landlords to start tackling retrofitting their homes there's a quarter of a million social homes within wales and welsh government has set a fairly ambitious target of epc-a which not particularly a metric we're fans of but that's the one that's set at the moment and to get to there by the very early 2030s so it's a it's a tall target in a short time frame really to do that with the optimized retrofit collaboration we're working beyond just what the right measures are in the homes to get them right for the residents and right for the building fabric to get to that net zero carbon performance we're engaging across the spectrum as to how we can support skills training foundational economy we've uh with partners on the project we've built a dynamic procurement framework or dynamic procurement system that supports decarbonization works we're investigating in quite some detail the cost and indeed how those costs will change going forward and you may well be pleased to hear that we think the costs are a lot less than perhaps some in westminster currently still think they are we're mapping out retrofit demand and opportunities and and we're also working very hard on resident engagement and tenant engagement as a subset of that to understand how to get in through the front door and understand and support the outcomes for the people that live in their homes which emily was saying winning their hearts and minds for the people in the homes is the absolute first step to getting decarbonization to work and lastly and not least i'll touch on this in the last slides all of those homes whether they're new build or retrofit generally speaking of bringing information back on a very granular level about occupancy and performance once those retrofit measures have been installed so this is how we support all of those projects we've got a series of what would what would normally be five steps which hangs around a building passport and then ultimately the offer the opportunity of comfort services for the residents at the end so walking through those in the few minutes i've got remaining we start by needing to understand the existing home whether that's a new build home and we're importing bim diagrams of the building or more likely understanding an existing property and getting a good quality survey to understand its retrofit readiness so we've got a tablet-based survey tool although that's not the only way of getting information into the building passport that we host and that is past 2035 aligned of course you can't be compliant with past 2035 at the minute because the mechanisms aren't there but uh written by some of the authors of past 2035 that capture survey allows us to form a very very comprehensive understanding of the existing condition of the home now that survey imports into the next step on the journey which is the pathway to xero hosted within our passport online the pathway allows the competent user to be able to plan a series of intervention on the home to and to see the feedback in technical terms what's the impact on the resident's energy bills what's the impact on the on the energy usage what's the impact on potentially costs of capital costs operational costs what's the impact of carbon all of those metrics which can be calculated by cloud compute these days uh mapped out and presented back for each step the next step on this journey which i'm conscious of time i'll rattle through is wherever we can we suggest that a building energy engine that's the only piece of hardware we talk about goes into the home that then monitors the energy strategy the energy sub-metering within the home as well as internal environment and that's providing data back into the building passport giving residents a better understanding of how their home runs where they spend their hard-earned cash on their fuel bill but also where it's landlords understanding how to improve that property going forward the the penultimate one there is the verify app we'll be launching that in the second half of this year this is a means of us supporting the industry to demonstrate quality of install and to update the building passport to ensure that when measures have been installed they've been installed correctly and that the passport captures that measure in place and records it and then can start to record where those measures are actually delivering what they should be or whether perhaps not delivering against what the model suggested and we can begin to understand where those differences are and last and by no means least should the resident choose then the operation of that home can be switched over to optimize on the resident's behalf for the new build homes we run that reduces their energy bill by about 40 percent but it gives them a comfort outcome along the way so that's the mechanism to ensure that that home can be run as zero carbon once it's capable of getting there through its retrofit and new build journey so that's me uh in a very big nutshell but yes that's what we're doing at cerro and very happy to help support anyone that wants to collaborate deliver net zero carbon in homes that's what we do
thanks so much andy um again there's some questions i think are applicable to all panelists so i'll save some of them to the end but there's just one that's uh more of a point of clarification from tom broughton and he asks what's what's in it for landlords how did they get a return when they work with sarah um there are a number of different ways one can do this but the primary way for landlords um depending whether they're social or private of course social landlords have obligations um being put upon them by relevant devolved or westminster governments what we can do is provide a seamless journey through that um mechanism to get to net zero carbon for the home so we can tell you what that zero carbon looks like we can support mostly your own team who tend to follow that teach someone up teach someone to fish rather than give someone a fish approach and then the tools will allow those people to plan out the journey for each of the homes across a whole stock record that as an entire portfolio for the landlord monitor the progress against it but also where um we've got a couple of mechanisms to get some financial return to help cover the capital costs and i think that's one of the key ones which people are struggling with net zero at its heart is a problem of capital outlay versus operational savings and you have to be able to close that circle to make it work thanks so much we'll come back to speak more at the end um but now i just wanted to pass over to charlie for the final presentation charlie take it away
you're on me challenge got in there i wanted to make sure we actually said you're on mute it's the 20th of 2022 um so um we're very small i feel a bit of an imposter syndrome here very tiny business that's just been looking trying to find the gaps in retrofit why isn't happening what the problems are and then trying to look for solutions and um i mean the crucial thing about retrofit is the greenest building is one that already exists that graph there from simon sturgis says that basically um all the bit we're trying to make zero is but not compared to the uh the the carbon emissions involved in building the property in the first place anything up to 80 tons for a new house and that's the average but between 50 and 80 tons as simon studio said so an awful lot of carbon just going there so if we can save these things and this does look like a bit of a basket case but actually we polished it up quite nicely and the nice thing about that is it gives us that chance to also help stabilize communities because the problem with demolition and rebuild there's a donath play merry hell with with you with with how communities feel like they're getting on um we've also done it with uh with with non-residential as well um and this one was formerly three weavers cottages knocked through to make manchester digital laboratory up in the the super hit northern quarter of manchester which we then polished up into being an event space downstairs and then offices upstairs knocked 60 off their carbon emissions despite only actually not doing the front and sorting out the lighting or other bits um but the other point about retrofit is it gives you so many other opportunities as well as as madden said we want to try and make retrofit something people actively want not just because it makes them healthy and reduces carbon and reduces their their cost of occupation and um and and that kind of thing it's also because you can make things so much nicer if you're going to have a play so we had a bit of a fun with with a steel staircase very lightweight to keep the embodied emissions down made by a local fabricator um and led lighting throughout obviously another thing we can do with home with with retrofit is we can also do the other things um so this actually i've somebody mentioned a bit about conservation areas this is on the edge of one but not quite in it um so the house underneath actually should have been in the conservation area quite sweetie they wanted a lot of conversion we wanted to keep it as minimal as possible not compete with the rest of the house so we'd already done the retrofit downstairs uh working with other organizations um to to get that to somewhere near a zero carbon target but that's before we knew it had to be zero that was an 80 reduction and then we built this loft conversion on the top plywood zinc as many low carbon materials as we could and we insulated it to the point where they still haven't put a radiator up there and then you've got to get and then there's also the materials you use obviously timber is is the one that everyone really likes um but where do we get it from can we strengthen the viability of our local car of our of our own carbon sinks obviously wales way ahead of the rest of the country on this and i'm a little bit jealous um this is english oak from the borders in fact to make the kitchen on the right on the left is a very is a kind of mini cross laminated timber from austria i'm really hoping somebody'll make that here so we can bring let's bring a bit of excitement into retrofit while we're there but then the next thing the third thing is is really useful jobs not sitting in a call center wondering what you were born for but actually i'm doing something to make people's lives better i've had several people through red and sometimes it says what what is the bit you get the most out of it and a lot of them have said we set the look on people's faces when their houses are warm and comfortable and look so much nicer um we've been trying to get some more women in involved in on the tools as well sadly this last that's doing this uh this insulation for me is so much better at the other thing she does i've not been able to steer her into retrofit but but it's a good picture because we've got a chronic problem with jobs um 750 000 new construction jobs across the country um so i've estimated about 33 35 000 just in greater manchester and it's not just tradespeople it's the people to manage the trades people and the renewables store installers for the shiny things and one day we'll win the arguments about the occasional designer in it as well um and the construction leadership council fortunately agrees they put it down into a much more granular level as you'll see if you look down that graph on the right hand side a lot of them are aren't retrofit specific jobs they are they are trades people um because we've got this big problem a lot of people are dare i say it in in the trade my age and they're wanting a little sit down at some point soon and um and we're not bringing people back in to replace them we've obviously also been caught out by having ended our informal um contract with the eastern european construction training providers um and a lot of our eu workforce has has gone home let's be honest and that's exposed a chronic problem with with what we've got available to us but retrofit gives us this opportunity to create construction 2.0 it's because we don't even have enough construction workers for the industry that we've got um we we've got that opportunity to create some new ones and so we can build consumer customer trust with a new bunch of people we can we can build competencies from the ground level upwards we can get rid of some of the sort of the more traditional stereotypical scaffolding behavior and we can make it a place where ever where lots of other people you don't often see on building sites want to work um and then we can but i think we can also make a lot of the skills that you need for this aspirational i've i've i've found that the need for decent high-grade woodworkers is much higher than you'd expect in a retrofit because you've got to rehang doors properly um you've got to put window reveals back in you've got to fit windows that actually are vertical so they don't swing open and there is this opportunity because of the direct connection with the customer to actually make them uh give a true pride and satisfaction in your job so we set up this thing called the retreat getting project um where we actually um we don't need to see me um there's a vid there's a video on there if you go if you google retrofit get in um then you'll you'll get a little of me wandering around this house the point with it was though that we got a whole load of out-of-work theater workers mid pandemic desperate for work because they're already part of the gig economy i managed to get them some work um and and um we found it really interesting that actually um they think along with it and i had to redesign some of the retrofit measures to make it easy but on that but but on that scaffolding there you've got um two event workers and a former set builder from the lowry um and and um that guy buried up to his with only his feet visible was the automation manager for the royal exchange theater dab hand with the power tool um fortunately unfortunately gone back to work didn't manage to keep him um and really unfortunately we didn't manage to get the training community to recognize the value of what we were doing and be able to enable us to train these people they kept saying we've got apprenticeships and we're saying who am i apprenticing them to the good news is though that what we found in terms of getting people into this industry is that that actually the red bit at the bottom the bit about retrofit itself the knowledge is not as important as all the other bait well actually arguably life skills um and so i think we can take people from a wide variety of walks of life and get them into retrofit we've done we've started the ball rolling on this by taking our retrofit measures and redesigning them around um different day rates anyone from london just don't look at those day rates i understand how hopelessly ridiculous they look to you um but they work up north um because it's grip up north um and um we basically said you've got you've got you're unskilled uh but you've got a bit of work for them in the case of internal insulation only seven percent but on under floor insulation that climbs quite high so on average across several measures we ended up with 15 of the workforce could come in with no previous experience at all we're going to need 15 that are fully skilled they can do it by themselves without me having to to keep an eye and then we've got a staircase between the two and that my view is that what we actually need to be able to do is is get training to work so we can put them on sites we've got a string of customers who are willing to let me put trainees on their job as long as they don't have to pay for their training which seems fair enough really um but have i been able to get the public sector to pony up for that no i haven't other options though we can get better at it i i love the idea of being an innovation manager i would love to be one of those chief innovation director or something thanks andy you've inspired me there to go and ask for a job um so we've looked at external launch relation this is a new system we've developed with back to earth in in down in in devon um looking at ways to make the renderies you're looking at ways to use the timber and that gate's made from locally sourced uk source english larch and there's the house before and after i'm i'm inordinately proud of that um a black bay window we cut out the top light to get more light in um and we've been doing some stuff around off-site construction as well that guy on the left he's a he's a film editor um but we've been trying that out because obviously when you're doing a dorm wind you've got a big hole in the roof can you get it up very fast floors with that that's um a key grip on the left an artist and two people that build work for artists um and then we built the floor off site brought it to site so a bit energy spring-ish um but actually um mainly because we wanted to take a ceiling down and replace it on on the um on the bay window because that needed to be done in the same day for security the same thing we use their cnc to do it i learnt my way around um doing uh steam bending some large so old trades are in there as well because people want you to make like you weren't there and so on this one we even learned our way how to do curved internal insulation and my plaster as a dab hand at rebuilding the cornices um but there's a lot to do it's across multiple different areas we need to be taking small pieces and getting them to work across lots of different areas so that we build the the the sort of the seeds of what we want done so that we can make it work um so what we do is if we if we team up whole has retrofit with the new energy and storage then the calculations that i did suggest we can actually get to zero carbon by 2038 um fuel poverty can go by 2030 if we do some of it cleverly and no net cost the public purse except training and this is the bit that i think we really have some work to do so just those are my final slide really it's just some things that that we desperately need to think about if we're going to build a workforce of 750 000 people we've got to start young we've got to value the jobs not treat trace people as idiots um we've got to make sure our colleges are not doing tick box training but the proper thing so you can send someone to site with something you can start them to work with and we also need to recognize that construction ought not to just be a career of last resort we've got to make it aspirational so that we've got that wider range of applicants thank you
now i'm on me thanks so much charlie that was fantastic um can i bring back all the panelists so we've got lots of questions to address and i'd like everyone to have a go at them thank you um so there's a couple of things that have come through from the audience and i'd like to pick up first and then i've got a few questions for you too um so during emily and andy's presentations in particular there were several questions from various people asking about the applicability of the approaches that you're developing for the private sector so i think both of you talk mainly about working with social landlords um so emily to go to you first and then ask the others to comment um can that industrialized approach you talked about be translated to to the private sector and how won't we do that i think it can and i think somebody in the chat suggested a kind of community area based scheme and i think that is the way we started with the social housing sector because they have large quantities of homogeneous stock and they also have maintenance budgets so i think often with um private owners they don't really uh kind of have a plan for maintaining their home whereas social housing providers they do need to have that and the energy strong model is is based on them spending the money they would have spent to maintain it as usual to get to net zero instead um so i think there are methods of borrowing against uh the home and the green mortgages that are starting to come out under the green finance institute for example so there's some interesting movements around how those types of deep retrofit might be funded um but i think as somebody else has pointed out it's that how do you actually get this to work um because you do need volume and you do need scale to get that industrialized approach to work and for that you need to have similar properties you need to be doing repetitive work so having lots of kind of individual bespoke one-off projects is probably more suited at this stage to something that's a bit more craft-based or traditional although i really liked charlie's uh um example of being able to use off-site manufacturer for things like dorm windows because i think component wise definitely there are opportunities some of the things like the energy modules that we're seeing used in energy sprung projects could be applied to private sector homes so that they're not taking up valuable space inside the property um and by doing that you know you create a big market for some of those components that then starts to reduce their cost which helps the overall um overall challenge be achieved that's great thanks and andy is do i think you actually said you work with all sectors like how does your approach vary between working with say social landlords in the private sector um yeah it kind of doesn't vary but it does vary i suppose it's a terrible answer so ultimately what where i think a number of organizations are looking and certainly we're one of them is that every home in the uk will need to have a digital presence and call that a log book or a passport or whatever and that's one of the things we do and these things need to be interactable so that you can review the data that's in the building passport whether you have a thousand homes in a portfolio or whether you're a homeowner occupier and you're just looking at your own home now that needs to in build embed within it a medium-term retrofit plan as trustmark would call it to to represent the journey of that home from wherever it starts to wear up to getting to net zero carbon the approach that that homeowner chooses to take whether they're a portfolio homeowner or an individual occupier may well vary because there's more than one way to get to and that's what we always try to look for in terms of how that's best supported along the journey for us at the moment of the 17 million or so homes which are in owner occupier status in the uk about half of those have mortgages secured on them just over and what we're doing at the moment is working with mortgage providers to provide the support so they have a trusted lending low rate secured source to borrow against and that can weaken evidence savings through the tools that we run on the unique home rather than a normalized pan uk average saving which other tools might produce and that gives the in the financial body the confidence to say this can actually be a benefit to the resident and still a repayable mortgage so it does help to square off that problem of um as i said at the end of the talk net zero carbon is a capital cost but operational saving and you've got to be able to put those two to line up to make this all stack up because there isn't enough grant in the world to pay for net zero background so that's brilliant thanks and charlie just to pick up on some of those points as well um because it would be good to hear more about the type of clients you work with you've talked about some individual homes and some um some industrial or commercial properties like mad lab um and also you know picking up on emily's point do you see a potential to combine the kind of craft and bespoke approach with also some um more industrialized or kind of standardized uh components well obviously i put the stuff about they'll start construction in there because i i definitely do see a future for it i think i just to lobby gauntlet out to the digital survey industry they really need to get their act together so we can get millimeter perfect um rather than five to ten millimeter perfect scans of properties um that are then legible because billion point point clouds are a challenge but um we used a variety of bits of kit to do that i think the problem was the design time and the survey time need to be reduced to be able to make it viable but the bit that was viable is that my mate in that who was who was steering the crane on that shot and he's got a cnc router in his in his workshop because that's what they build artists work with occasionally i can slide a lot of work in there while he's building bits and pieces for them and i think there's there's quite a lot of people with that kind of machinery i think once you get to the large off-site um panelized construction that we're not quite there yet and there's not enough providers though so this was all done just cnc um on on a standard eight by four cutter and the nice thing about it is you're working somewhere next to a kettle with a decent cup with some decent coffee um you're not weather dependent um that's been one of the things obviously whilst it's a bit of a stereotype that it rains all the time in manchester it does rain ever and i'm the god i am the rain god my my business partner reckons because every time i'm going to go inside put some insulation on the wall it tips it down or just when they come into render the temperature drops below five degrees so there's an awful lot to be said for that bit in terms of customers um because the space for social landlords is so crowded with consultants as i'm sure emily has noticed um i i've been plowing the the private home field because the nice thing about private homeowners is that they are not uh regulated by what they're allowed to do um and they are some of them desperate for agency over climate change so this house we've been working on the client is basically an absolute saint because she wants retrofit to prove the point so she's let us have a go at things i've promised to put it right if it goes wrong um and and we have that ability then to be able to test stuff out that the social landlord would go well how many of those have you done before then sonny um and and i'd have to go um maybe not so many um now i've done a few obviously i can i can i can nearly hold my own uh in between emily and andy although i do still feel a bit hostage um but i think there is an enormous market out there for those early adopters there's just been some study work done in greater manchester that suggests three percent of greater manchester's population so that's over 30 000 households are up for a deep retrofit and now
um this kind of follows on a little bit from that but there's another question this is from chiaro ricky harper and she's talking about the idea of needing to be able to take a piecemeal approach or do things bit by bit because it's quite difficult to borrow money for a deep retrofit on job security it's kind of you know not there for many people um but i wanted to put that to all of you because i think andy you you talked about um the building passport approach which kind of applies people can upgrade things over time emily energy sprung if i've got it right it's a bit more kind of all-in-one you know do everything and don't kind of rely on having to come back and charlie you're kind of somewhere in the middle you know what are the pros and cons of going in and doing everything versus having a journey to kind of improving um properties over time charlie put your hand up so you go first well just because we've we've done an awful lot of underfloor insulation for example because we're the only people with a scrawny enough workforce but prepared to go under floors and do it um where you get your average building is ibis staring down at his beard going now mate i'm not going in there um and so we've done a lot of the piecemeal i think we're putting a tender together with uh retrofit works for greater manchester at the moment to be able to roll something out and um gmca have got it they are asking for whole house plans so they answer to the piecemeal approaches don't do anything to your house if it's going to be abortive work or if you're going to have to come back and do it again properly later but yes of course you're only going to be able to do some bits one at a time um so in the house that i showed you the curved ew iwi on we've developed it cost us a fortune frankly but we've tried it out now and now to do better next time when you do the window reveals for your iwi do them in such a way that when they come to replace the windows later because you couldn't afford it you can pop out the window reveal rather than trash your entire internal insulation and then that does enable you to save your shekels up and do it bit by bit i'm quite keen and we're working with flex certificate to see if we can build something on this where we can actually aggregate some energy storage income to be able to create a kind of personal retrofit savings fund for people so they can gradually build up a body of cash to be able to do a retrofit with because andy's point is absolutely right you've got your straightforward balance of operational savings versus um cost recovery but the bit in in the middle is if you've got quite a lot of kilowatts of pv on your roof and a nice big fat 10 kilowatt hour battery that's controlled remotely there are incomes soon to be derived from that although the speed of movement is quite slow i first moved to the idea back in 2013 and was still not quite there for domestic owners except for local flexibility but there's money there andy what would you say on that um i agree with all of that i think you know there is not we often in these sorts of conversations try and chase after the one silver bullet that's the way to do it and the reality is there will be any number of ways that we tackle the 27 million or so homes there are in the uk some of them and where we can get communities engaged are absolutely ripe for a deep retrofit one hit let's get it all done and do it it's almost certainly the most cost effective way but it requires the most disruption and it requires the highest cost up front and then those savings come through so there's absolutely room for that there's also room at the other end of the spectrum where people diy's and such like will buy a door upper from the early 1900s or whatever and they'll over the years they'll chip away at it probably literally to try and make improvements step by step by step and over 20 years or hopefully less they'll get to where they need to get to the point i think that everyone whether it's letty or trustmark or even government now in various devolved states and centrally recognizes that however you tackle it whether in one big leap or a series of small shuffles you need to have in place a plan so that you do the works in a logical sequence and that you try and ensure that you're not doing abortive works or you're minimizing them and that's really for us that's the heart of it um once you've got a plan in place and what we would call a pathway to xero then that gives you the mechanism to know that you're doing the right works in the right sequence the key for us is to be able to make that transition through tenure and through ownership so if you're a homeowner occupier you might only take the first two steps on your pathway to zero you may they'll set then send your sell your home and we've done we're just closing up a project with rightmove and the rics that's actually demonstrating that home will have increased its value because of the works you've done so there's really promising things in the homeowner occupier space around the value that we've been working on as well but then the next person picks up the pathway to zero and says right there's another three steps i may or may not do them i may reshuffle them but they've got control and they've got the next step building on the shoulders for those that went before so i think however you tackle it it is having a good coherent welfare plan and we would say that actually takes into account the benefits charlie mentioned around looking to work in harmony with the grid looking at those incomes that can come from things like dsr to make sure that this is done whole grid whole home solution
emily what would you like to add on that topic yeah so i think um i've got a sort of practical example from a project called destination zero that energy spring uk is working with knotting them on and i guess this is the energy sprung some of the value we see is being able to request a performance guarantee and it's quite hard to request performance guarantee when you're only doing a bit of a property but there are sometimes challenges when you've just replaced a boiler for example and you don't want to take that out before the end of its life so the destination zero project came about from that recognition that there will be some properties that aren't ready to have the whole house done at the same time but yet you've got issues like the solid wall is really leaking and needs repairing so you might as well do that element at that point um one of the uh practical examples of where there are challenges in approaching things in a in a more incremental way is with the the roof on the pilot property in that project the roof had already been replaced and nottingham had to come back to extend the roof and to do some additional detailing around the eaves to try and fit the external wall insulation on and when they did that because they had to extend it so much they ended up having to replace the roof and it had only been done eight years before so i think that the point that um that that both andy and charlie have made about having that kind of long-term plan is absolutely essential and i think that's that's quite hard for social housing organizations at the moment because it requires a real transformation so roofing programs are going on and they're just happening and what you need is for all of those roofing designs to be changed where you've got properties that are going to have to have external wall insulation so that they're all designed in advance ready for the programs that come afterwards that's quite a big shift that's that's kind of where we're aiming for with the destination zero project um but we need those kind of template designs and examples and then you need a lot of training uh to be rolled out for those teams that are actually doing the roof so that they can insulate them properly they can extend them sufficiently and prepare the ground for the next energy measures that come along afterwards that's great thank you um we've only got a couple of minutes left so i'm just going to keep it to one question although i might have more than one part but emily and in your presentation you emphasized uh the fact that actually to meet net zero goals will need to retrofit eight eight homes per minute and then if we don't crack on that's gonna be even more homes per minute shortly um i think we've seen in the press over the last few weeks some some some people kind of using these stats to try and make the argument that actually it's not possible to get to net zero and painting quite a negative story around that so i wanted to ask you all um first of all you know what do you think is is needed in order to scale up retrofit the scale we we need to get to and i appreciate that there won't be one silver bullet but um what do you think are some of the most important things and then the second part of the question is you know what would you what would you say to people who sort of say it's not possible like do you think it do you think it is possible and then so what makes it makes you optimistic um i'm going to go to emily first well i think our our asks of government are five things i think are really important so i think the zero vat at the moment there's a disincentive to retrofit instead of new build that's crazy when we know we need to retrofit that should just be a policy that's aligned straight away and i think for us something it's similar to the offshore wind accelerator which made a huge difference in that industry needs to happen for retrofit so rather than having a kind of view to grant being used forever to fund this work actually we need a program where that grant is structured in such a way that it incentivizes investment in the industry to create the solutions that are required to be able to achieve net zero and that kind of long runway that enables the industry to understand that this is serious and that this is coming and gets people behind it and and enables those kinds of training opportunities that charlie's talked about and those area themes that land is delivering to to really kind of have long enough to get off the ground properly and be implemented properly um but i think there is you know there is some movement social hazard decarbonisation fund does look as though it's there for the long term which is encouraging although at the moment it's kind of gone back to single measures which is disappointing um and i think there is a wider recognition more recently and as again charlie's pointed out there's more appetite from people now to do this so we can start to see a shift in people becoming much more interested in what they can do to help issues and people starting to recognize that they can start from home so i think there is definitely reason for um some optimism around
um charlie yes optimism i i am an eternal optimist and i because i have to be i i've brought four children into this world along with my partner will be cheap and share the work and so i've got a duty to offer them a future not just an apology um but i despair i've been at this for 15 years now trying to make retrofit actually happen and make it work and trying to build scale and increasing awareness of the urgency of the problem and whilst we might be getting there that the task before us is somewhat daunting every borough in the country needs to i need to be able to find about two and a half thousand new construction uh people to do the retrofit task before us that is not to be sniffed out there is absolutely no recognition of that of that at all um we're we're still tiptoeing just i don't understand why we're tiptoeing around the tube if somebody should just be standing there and going oi i mean realistically we ought to be bringing back the technical colleges and stop them being tick boxed because someone's having to earn their money on the basis of the number of ticks they got and actually having their money earned on the number of people that they got onto side doing proper work and we need a root and branch overhaul of the construction industry to deliver this whether it's whether it's people in factories delivering and emily's energy sprung or whether it's people in in the nice houses doing the craft-based work or all of the above realistically we have a desperate problem there i've the work we did for west yorkshire the year before last now um proved that we can make retrofit pay for itself to get to zero but we just don't have the people to do it the capacity crisis in construction should not be underestimated
andy i'm going to go to you for the last word and what would you add to what the authors have said um i broadly agree with with the other speakers and i think it's a really key point but i suppose my um my my comment would be perhaps a slightly higher level one in retrofit and indeed construction generally there are very few genuine technical and building physics barriers to getting effectively any property to a genuine net zero carbon measure there there is also in an in the construction an operation taken holistically over the length of the lifespan of a building the money in the system is just in the wrong places in the system so in that context getting homes to net zero carbon is more deliverable than getting zero carbon aviation which we haven't got the technology invented yet it's more deliverable than getting zero carbon heavy industry which we haven't got the technology yet and it's more deliverable than getting zero calm agriculture because we've still not figured out how to stop cows farting so ultimately we don't have a choice about net zero carbon and we are one of the easiest sectors however hard it may feel we are one of the easiest sectors to deliver this that's a good point that's a great place to finish um you're right all properties can be retrofitted and can get stereocarbon and we have the technology so basically as charlie's saying we know what to do we just need to go out and do it um thank you so much all three of you for joining thanks audience for your great questions um this a couple of people asked whether this um event will be posted as a video it will um so look out for the link and please if you can take a minute to fill in our survey and just to leave your feedback it really helps us improve future events and on that i'd just like to thank andy emily and charlie it's been a pleasure speaking to you i hope everyone enjoyed the event and thank you for joining thank you thank you
What can we learn from those at the cutting edge - the people already deep in the world of decarbonising homes? In this event, you’ll hear from three carbon-cutting pioneers and have the opportunity to put your questions to them. What experiences can they share, and how can we learn from each other to support the UK’s road to zero carbon?
This event is the fourth event in the Making the Switch Towards Cleaner, Greener Homes event series. Explore the four other events in this series by visiting the event home page.
Madeleine leads Nesta’s mission to create A Sustainable Future, which focuses on decarbonisation and economic recovery. Her team is setting up innovation projects and partnerships exploring how to reduce carbon emissions from homes and, in the wake of COVID-19, how to boost productivity and help people find good work. She previously led Nesta’s work on inclusive innovation, researching ways to create an equitable, innovation-led economy in the UK. She has published widely on innovation practices that promote sustainability and social impact. Before joining Nesta in 2014, Madeleine specialised in social research and programme evaluation, helping charities and public bodies to understand and improve their impact. She has worked across a wide range of public policy areas including learning, skills and employability, public health, housing and neighbourhood regeneration.
Andy is one of Sero’s two cofounders alongside CEO James. As Chief Innovation Officer he is responsible for the full breadth of Sero’s activities ranging from research to digital product development, maintaining a focus on pragmatically deliverable, technically robust outcomes that support achieving real Net Zero Carbon. He is a chartered architect and past president of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW), and has worked delivering low/zero carbon schemes for nearly 25 years, both in private practice for a dozen years and with the BRE (Building Research Establishment) for a decade.
Emily Braham is Head of Strategy and Operations within the Market Development Team at Energiesprong UK. Emily has an MSc in area based retrofit, and 16 years of experience in the social housing sector, delivering some of the UK’s most innovative retrofit schemes. She is passionate about using collective action to drive energy efficiency in the sector and brings hands-on knowledge and creative thinking to help solve our net zero challenges.
Red Co-operative are design and build retrofit specialists, making retrofit aspirational through high quality design and specification. The works o site are frequently used to research and test new ways of doing the job. On top of that, they have co-authored several reports on retrofit standards and finance, most recently a report for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority on how to get the region’s housing to zero emissions by 2038. Red.coop established the Retrofit Pattern Book to share best practice ideas in retrofit and is currently delivering zero carbon existing homes with Retrofit Works in an ERDF funded project called Homes as Energy Systems. Red.coop also co-created the Retrofit Get In Project showing how new entrants to retrofit, in this case theatre workers laid off due to the pandemic, can be trained up in specific measures.