E=0 pilot optimises the Energiesprong solution for Nottingham rollout to 155 homes

The Energiesprong solution in the UK is being optimised at the start of its rollout to 155 homes in Nottingham, thanks to a new pilot to upgrade 17 homes. Solution provider Melius Homes will continue in their role as main contractor having successfully delivered the first 10 net zero energy homes in Nottingham in 2017. They will now add improvements and carry forward the lessons learned from the pilots.

Transforming hard to heat homes

As reported in The Guardian, Nottingham is gearing up for the UK’s biggest rollout of ultra-low energy homes to date. The rollout will help transform 155 hard to heat homes into desirable, comfortable and affordable homes for life.

The new Nottingham Energiesprong pilot will radically improve 17 homes, comprising of 10 bungalows and 7 two-bedroom, three-storey houses. The properties, owned by Nottingham City Homes, are on West Walk, adjacent to the first multi award-winning pilot.

Work began on site in December 2018 to rollout the piloted solution. Plans for the rollout include clusters of homes with communal energy centres with ground source heat pumps fed by electricity generated from solar panels on the roofs. Battery and thermal storage will help make the most of solar energy captured onsite.

Refining the solution

Melius Homes has identified ways to speed up time on site and reduce costs for the rollout, leading to improvements to how the roof, wall panels and controls are delivered:

  • Roof units are being assembled offsite. This makes the work faster, and ultimately aims to remove the need for scaffold.
  • Wall panels are being built with windows & doors already in. Fixings and flashings are being redesigned to speed up installation.
  • A new controls package is being developed to allow better optimisation of performance.

Melius Homes is also pressing ahead with ambitious plans to manufacture the wall & roof panels by setting up its own factory to create a vertically integrated supply chain to enable more rapid cycles of continuous improvement.

Melius Homes Managing Director, Rob Lambe, commented “Nottingham City Homes is leading the way in the UK in adopting this transformational approach to whole house retrofit and we’re delighted to be delivering this ground-breaking project.”

From a Dutch market to a European Market

Energiesprong is a Dutch concept delivering energy efficient homes that are 2050-ready, using innovations that set an unusually high bar for actual energy performance. The aim is for onsite renewable energy systems provide for the heating, hot water and electricity needs of residents. European funding from Horizon 2020 and Interreg NWE has helped adapt the Dutch Energiesprong model to French and UK markets creating the potential for economies of scale.

Typically an Energiesprong retrofit solution will include new highly insulated outside walls and windows, a solar roof, state of the art heating system, plus monitoring equipment to verify actual energy performance. Residents benefit from a total home comfort upgrade whilst continuing to pay, on average, the same or less than they were paying before. Pilots provide the perfect opportunity for testing and adapting the Dutch model for the UK.

Some of the key features of a UK Energiesprong retrofit include:

  • Long-term whole house performance guarantee provided by the solution provider – reducing the risk of underperformance you get with piecemeal improvements and guarantees.
  • Self-contained energy module - this can be sited externally providing easy access for maintenance.
  • Off-site manufacturing of a whole house energy retrofit reducing cost, inconvenience to tenants and the time needed to complete an install.
  • System and technology agnostic: The procured solution provider commits to delivering a performance that is long term guaranteed and defined as year-round comfort.
  • Affordable warmth: Energy and comfort per annum (to date this has been for as little as £600 for the first UK pilot) for 21/18DegC in lounge/bedrooms, 140L hot water a day and 2,300kWh/yr electricity for lighting, cooking and sockets.
  • Net zero energy: Near zero net energy retrofit in UK (<1,500 kWh/yr)
  • Healthier: Prevents complications associated with fuel poverty including condensation and mould that can cause health issues and the underuse of rooms.
  • Efficiencies of scale: Offsite assembly and automation of insulated roof and wall cassette and energy modules. 2nd generation energy module will cost 35% less thanks to growing orders and making it more compact.
  • Pays for itself: investment envelope aligned with expected lifecycle cost savings and revenues.

Adapting the solution for the UK

The first UK Energiesprong pilot in the UK was unveiled in Nottingham in December 2017 to positive feedback from residents. Esther Lutzuver said: “These homes were really cold before and I dreaded winters. Last winter was so much better, me and my family found the house to be really warm and my energy bills have not got more expensive, in fact I’m paying less.“

These positive impacts and the potential to regenerate the neighbourhood led Nottingham Councillors to support the upgrading of a further 155 homes in 2019. Councillor Sally Longford says that tackling excessive energy bills, cold homes and climate change is a key part of the Council’s recently launched Fuel Poverty Strategy. Nottingham City Homes Chief Executive, Nick Murphy, added: “This rollout will really add to the regeneration of neighbourhoods across the city.”

Therefore, Nottingham City Council has secured over £5 million through the European Regional Development Fund (2014-20), with its Deep Retrofit Energy Model project, to support this rollout. Interreg NWE’s E=0 is assisting with the cost of retrofitting the pilot homes. These form the first 17 of the total 155 households set to benefit from the rollout during 2019.

From inspiration to action

Over the last 12 months there have been strong calls for retrofit action in the UK. These include the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s ‘Scaling Up Retrofit 2050’ report and the progress report to parliament published by the Committee on Climate Change in 2018. The just-released E=0 film Transforming Homes into the Future provides positive feedback from residents and professionals from European Energiesprong pilots to date. The film illustrates the high value of pilots for trialling, testing and further improving the potential to rollout the Energiesprong concept beyond The Netherlands.

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