Councillor Sally Longford of Nottingham City Council talks about the innovative collaboration between Nottingham City Homes, Melius Homes and Energiesprong that created a UK housing first.
Nottingham has one of the largest social housing stocks in the UK, our arm’s length management organisation, Nottingham City Homes (NCH), manage over 27,500 properties across Nottingham. Much of this housing stock was built in the middle of the last century and bringing them up to modern levels of energy efficiency is a challenge. So far, in partnership with NCH we have done much to tackle this through our Greener HousiNG programme which is working to reduce domestic carbon emissions and make year-round warmth more affordable for our citizens.
But there is still much more to do. In order to future-proof our housing stock we need to find a way to revolutionise energy use in older homes in a way that will pay for itself. That’s why we were excited to pilot the Energiesprong approach.
Nottingham’s Energiesprong Ultra-low Energy Homes
Energiesprong shows us how the zero carbon housing needed by 2050 could be achieved by creating super insulated houses that can gather as much energy from renewable sources as the household will need for their heat and electricity needs.
For our pilot we chose a 1960s housing type that was particularly energy inefficient, the houses also looked very dated from the outside and were in need of modernisation inside and out.
It has been exciting to watch the transformation of the houses. The offsite manufacturing meant that the wall, window and roof upgrades were put into place very quickly and the period of major works was kept to a minimum for the tenants. Many energy efficiency innovations have been installed including super insulated new walls, a solar roof, battery storage and ground source heat pumps. These homes have now been radically improved; all the tenants report warmer homes and cheaper bills and the exteriors look fantastic and have really enhanced the neighbourhood.
A partnership of European innovators
Partnership working has been pivotal to getting this first UK pilot up and running. The council, Nottingham City Homes, the contractor, Melius Homes and the Energiesprong team have all worked really creatively together to come up with UK first solutions.
Part of the funding for the Energiesprong pilot in Nottingham came from a smart city project funded by the European Union; REMOURBAN. This project seeks to show how sustainability can be integrated into the regeneration of our towns and cities and is particularly interested in improving housing. REMOURBAN and Energiesprong have been a great fit, both are seeking to accelerate the energy transformation of homes in an affordable and easily replicated way.
A second project funded by the European Union enabled the Energiesprong UK team to bring their expertise to the Nottingham pilot – Transition Zero aims to foster the right market conditions for net zero energy retrofit to flourish.
The tenants themselves have also had a big part to play the development of the model in Nottingham. As well as improving the energy efficiency of homes the Nottingham pilot has sought to improve the way a home works for the people that live in it. As the first Energiesprong scheme in the UK there has been a huge learning curve for Nottingham City Homes and Melius Homes as to how to deliver this type of project and the tenants have been very much part of the journey and have also become co-creators.
Recognition for Energiesprong
In May this year Nottingham City Homes won the UK Housing Award for Innovation for our Energiesprong pilot and I am delighted to hear that this month the World Green Building Council has awarded Energiesprong the prestigious David Gottfried Global Green Building Entrepreneurship Award. The model certainly seems to be gathering pace with another pilot planned in Essex, several completed in France, 2000 homes already retrofitted in the Netherlands and national and international recognition received. We are really keen to see lots of replication in the UK which will increase innovation and drive down prices; enabling even more households to benefit. These awards will really help spread the word and give visibility to this radial new approach.
There are over 700 properties of this particular housing type across the city so there is huge potential for replication. We are ambitious to do more and are seeking funding for the next stage of development.
Councillor Sally Longford, Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment, Nottingham City Council.
For more information, see www.energiesprong.uk.