New Home Efficiency Concept.

Ten homes in Nottingham have been selected as part of a UK pilot to radically improve older houses using measures to save and generate energy. Proposed improvements will make the residents of these homes ultra-low energy consumers, dramatically reducing household energy bills and making homes warmer.

Nottingham City Homes (NCH), the Arm’s Length Management Organisation (ALMO) managing and maintaining Nottingham City Council’s (NCC) council housing stock, has become the first in the UK to adopt a ground-breaking approach to retrofitting housing solutions, known as “Energiesprong”. The programme of work is part of the next phase in the city’s Greener HousiNG programme.

The Energiesprong approach involves wrapping an existing property with pre-fabricated wall and roof panels.

The process, which can be completed in a matter of days, includes the installation of a thermally insulated roof cassette with solar PV built into it; a thermally-efficient wall envelope insulation panel system; low-maintenance glass panelled wall kitchen and bathroom; air or ground source heat pump and heating system; removal of gas to create an electricity only property; and low energy cooker and shower.

The comprehensive retrofit delivers a super insulated, low maintenance and affordable near net zero-energy home with a 30-year construction and assured energy performance warranty. An Energiesprong home generates as much energy as is needed for the house and household appliances.

Part of the innovation is how the works are funded. The household pays an ‘Energy plan’, and the landlord (NCH) receives an on-going income to fund similar works to more homes. The resident has a much more comfortable home, and a flat rate cost for energy, which will not rise significantly when energy bills rise.

Originating in the Netherlands, Energiesprong is regarded as a revolutionary model; it brings today’s houses up to 2050 standards of energy efficiency and the new funding approach, ensures the works are affordable. Following Energiesprong’s outstanding success in the Netherlands, where a thousand homes a year are now receiving this high-tech makeover, the concept has been exported to France, Germany, Luxembourg, the US and now the UK.

Nottingham City Homes has signed the first UK contract, ahead of other pioneering landlords in London, Essex and Devon, placing an order with Melius Homes for ten retrofits as a pilot, with an option for up to a further 400. The deal follows extensive tenant consultation and a comprehensive competitive tender process to find the right solution provider.

This pilot is part of a cluster of smart city solutions being delivered in Nottingham over a three-year period under the European-funded REMOURBAN project. This project seeks to show how sustainability can be integrated into the regeneration of our towns and cities.

Nottingham City Homes’ Chief Executive, Nick Murphy, said: “While we’re delighted to be part of a UK-first pilot programme, it’s more important to us that we’re creating warmer, more energy efficient homes, which are cheaper to run for residents.

“The Greener HousiNG programme is dedicated to finding the most efficient and reliable solutions, to help us future proof our housing stock and tackle issues such as fuel poverty. As an added bonus, the improvements will greatly improve the look and feel of the area.”

David Adams, Technical Director of Melius Homes, the successful bidder said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to work with Nottingham City Homes to deliver this ground-breaking contract. They have shown great foresight in adopting such a radical new approach and we look forward to helping to make a real difference for the local community.”

Councillor Jane Urquhart, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing & Heritage, said: “We’re very excited that Nottingham is at the forefront of this revolutionary approach, which can help tackle both fuel poverty and climate change. Many of our residents live in fuel poverty so creating more energy efficient homes to reduce people’s energy bills is a high priority for us. Our Greener HousiNG programme has seen over 6,000 hard-to-treat homes in both social and private sectors receive energy efficiency measures and this pilot will inform the next steps for our programme to tackle hard-to-treat housing.

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