The “Energiesprong” model is being trialled as a way to reach net zero carbon standards; the Energiesprong pilot in Nottingham was the first in the country. Katie Greenhalgh, Energy Projects Manager at Nottingham City Council, takes us through the pilot’s impressive results.
Nottingham City Council is leading on an ambitious plan for Nottingham to become the UK’s first Carbon Neutral city by 2028 in order to tackle the climate and ecological emergency. To meet this objective, innovative solutions are required which can be scaled up across the city. With housing comprising 35% of the city’s Carbon emissions, this is a key sector to tackle when aiming for Carbon Neutrality and a step change in the way that we build and retrofit homes is required.
Nottingham City Council owns around 26,000 homes which are managed by Nottingham City Homes. Much progress has been made in improving the performance of these homes, including 40,000 energy efficiency measures and 4,000 Solar PV systems, with 51% now having an EPC C rating and 41% a D, far outperforming the average for housing across the City. But in order to reach a Carbon Neutral Nottingham by 2028, there is still a lot of work to do.
The “Energiesprong” model is being trialled as a way to reach net zero Carbon standards. Energiesprong is a Dutch whole house refurbishment standard and funding approach which creates high energy performance and desirable homes. It uses money that would be paid on energy bills and maintenance to fund the improvement works which are targeted to take place in just 10 days through advanced off-site manufacture. Importantly, tenants benefit from reduced and fixed energy bills, as well as a guaranteed comfort standard which provides a minimum temperature, volume of hot water and electrical appliance load, driving households out of Fuel Poverty.
The Energiesprong pilot in Nottingham was the first in the country and delivered through the Horizon 2020 Remourban project, which funded the gap between the “funding envelope” (comprised of energy plan payments from tenants, maintenance budget, and other funding streams such as FiTs, RHI and ECO) and the current cost of the solution which remains high due to its innovative nature and immature supply chain. Through this pilot, improved performance, rather than improvement measures, for 10 homes was procured which the contractor is required to guarantee over 30 years through monitoring, not modelling. The solution included prefabricated, insulated wall and roof panels, low temperature communal heating provided by a Ground Source Heat Pump, private wire electricity fed by Solar PV and thermal and electrical storage.
It was calculated that the homes should have been paying £1,800 per year for their energy but it was found that only £600 was paid on average, resulting in under-heated, cold and draughty homes that put vulnerable tenants at risk of poor health. After the pilot was completed, the tenants paid £500 per year for all their energy needs, with a guaranteed comfort plan meaning that they can enjoy warm homes without worrying about the cost of energy. Through the design process and consultation with residents, significant improvements were also made to the design of the homes and public realm, resulting in homes that the tenants love to live in.
Nottingham City Council is now embarking on a second phase of deep retrofits, with funding secured through Interreg NWE for the E=0 project, ERDF for the DREeM project and BEIS for the Whole House Retrofit project. These projects will enable a further 325 homes to be improved and over 975 tonnes of Carbon to be saved per year. It is hoped that increasing the volume of homes retrofitted to this standard and developing the supply chain sufficiently will ensure that the model becomes viable without subsidy and can be rolled out to many more homes. The authority also continues to innovate, such as exploring the potential to use flooded mines as a low carbon source of heat on later stages of our retrofit projects through the Interreg NWE funded D2Grids projects.
• To find out more about Nottingham’s Carbon Neutral 2028 plans click here. To find out more about the domestic retrofit projects visit here or contact Katie Greenhalgh, Energy Projects Manager at Katie.Greenhalgh@nottinghamcity.gov.uk.
• APSE is supported in its on work climate action by APSE Energy; a UK first in bringing together those councils that have developed municipal energy schemes to green and localise energy supply. For more information on how APSE Energy can help your council contact Phil Brennan on firstname.lastname@example.org.