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Energiesprong aims to revolutionise retrofit in the UK

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 May 2016 at 12:40 pm

Would you like your home transformed into a net-zero energy house, generating its own energy, all retrofit in less than a week and at no upfront cost to yourself? Well Energiesprong may become the answer to your prayers.

What is Energiesprong? 

Energysprong, meaning “energy leap”, is a major project which aims to transform ordinary houses into net-zero energy homes. It is a Dutch initiative which has already seen great success in the Netherlands, where the programme has already delivered over 500 net-zero energy refurbishments as part of a 111,000-volume deal between housing associations and industry.[1]

The aptly named project doesn’t focus on one technology in particular. Houses are kitted out with external insulation and solar panels, effectively wrapping it in a “tea cosy” and generating enough energy on-site to balance out any taken from the mains grid. 

Energiesprong works by engaging contractors, suppliers and housing associations to come together and transform the houses with refurbishments to the value of £40,000. Partners in the latest phase have secured a grant of 3.6 million euros (£2.6 million) from the EU Horizon 2020 fund and their hope is to refurbish over 500 homes in the UK and 500 in France.[2]

What could it do for your home? 

Energiesprong could transform your house into net-zero energy house, for free, in just over a week. Sound too good to be true? Trust us, it’s true. In terms of finance it works in a similar way to the Green Deal. Tenants agree to pay the same amount in bills that they would have been paying without the retrofit. Over time the energy bill savings as a result of the improvements pay for the retrofit.

For example, a household might be paying £1800 a year on energy bills. After Energiesprong they would continue to pay this amount, but some is now going to the contractors and paying for the work, spread over time. Meanwhile the homeowner gets to live in a far more comfortable home. In this way there is no upfront cost to the tenant at all, but the contractor also gets a fair deal in payment.

After the retrofit the house will be guaranteed to meet certain criteria. These could include ensuring that it will be at 21oC whatever the weather, or that it will receive 200 litres of water per day. Energiesprong might guarantee that the household will receive an electricity bundle for lights and appliances of between 1,800 and 2,000 kWH per annum.

What about the bigger picture?

Even if your home is not directly affected by the Energiesprong, there are still ways it can benefit you. The idea is that it will radically transform the retrofit market, making zero carbon homes as easy to refit as a new kitchen. Once the market has "leapt" into action, it should make it much more affordable for you to retrofit your home for energy efficiency.

The director of Energiesprong, Jasper van den Munckhof, says: “we say to builders your biggest competitor is not your fellow builder but energy companies… They have at their disposal the €13 billion a year which customers spend on energy. That now becomes their market. It’s a completely new pool of money they can tap into and it’ll probably double or triple the pie they have to share amongst themselves.”

Retrofitting a home can be difficult and innovation will be necessary to overcome difficulties and obstacles. This innovation is what Energiesprong wants to inspire. The project hopes to drive down prices and make energy retrofitting easier and more widely available. The hope is that attractive, affordable, net zero energy refurbishments will soon be commonplace in the UK. There is a lot of potential for everyone involved. Homeowners, tenants, construction and installation companies all stand to benefit from the project.

 In summary, the aim is to:  

  • Stimulate increased demand for net-zero energy refurbishment solutions
  • Improve the regulatory and financing conditions for such solutions
  • Mobilise the construction sector to revolutionise its existing retrofit building processes
  • Develop stronger supply chain integration, product-focused collaboration and industry-led innovation

Over 27% of the UK’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions come from the residential sector. [3] Our housing stock is energy inefficient and “leaky”. Our hopes are high that Energiesprong will transform the industry to provide cheaper, easier energy efficiency. This project could do a lot for your home, and in the long term it could do a lot for many homes across Britain.

Sources:

(1) NEF

(2) Building construction design

(3) Centre for sustainable energy

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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