On 7 March social housing providers and solution providers shared their own firsthand experiences of delivering Energiesprong retrofit pilots in the UK, France and the Netherlands. A special 1.5 hour programme of short presentations was followed by a panel Q&A session bringing the conference business of the Interreg NWE E=0 project to a close.
Feedback from the pilots
Energiesprong’s goal is to deliver desirable, warm and comfortable homes for life, at no extra cost. Each speaker on 7 March shared their unique insights from working to deliver E=0 retrofit pilots to the radical net zero energy, performance-guaranteed, standard set by Energiesprong.
Agnieska Bogucka of Vilogia Group introduced a video showing the delivery of the HEM E=0 pilot in France. She put emphasis on the importance of communications with the end customer: “We put tenants at heart of the project from the very beginning. This made a real difference, knowing for whom we do things and why."
David Adams from solution provider Melius Homes, now delivering the 17-home E=0 Energiesprong pilot in Nottingham, expressed his team’s growing confidence thanks to the experience of delivering the first UK Energiesprong pilot in 2017: “For the first pilot we built the roof on site - next time we'll have a panelised roof... now we’re more confident."
Andy Merrin of solution provider ENGIE, presenting the UK pilot in Maldon, Essex, mentioned the additional challenge because of the local planning officer’s requirement that the exterior look of the properties remain unchanged: “It’s a huge learning curve for us, even though we know the solutions and how to apply them ... the planners insisted we keep the street scene the same.”
This requirement would mean installing new dormer windows in the room in the the roof and working with insulation panel experts Mauer to deliver insulation panels with an acrylic brick-effect finish that can be closely matched in colour and visible wear to the original brick finish.
Emojis make energy management simple for end users
Jasper van den Munckhof of Factory Zero, supplier of energy modules to the Maldon and French pilots, detailed his company’s success in driving down both the costs and the size of this integrated solution. Cost reductions and quality improvement continue as a results of industrialization in response to growing demand. The energy module brings heating, hot water storage, ventilation, a solar inverter and monitoring equipment together in one easily accessible module sited outside each property.
Van den Munckhof also highlighted the value of their intuitive and easy-to-use touch pad interface which allows residents to see at a glance how their home is performing: “One of things that proved very effective is the smiley on the energy monitor ... if it's angry they call us and we find out what's using so much energy".
Interreg is about cohesion
Towards the end of the session, Ruut Louwers of Interreg NWE was interviewed by Ian Hutchcroft of Energiesprong UK. The audience were keen to know if the EU would support UK projects after Brexit.
Louwers was able to offer some positive assurances about the European Union desire to continue supporting Energiesprong’s international work: “Interreg is about cohesion - We want to keep working with the UK... UK partners are very motivated to keep it going ... we will find a solution.”
This desire to continue the relationship was confirmed in May by the announcement that the UK would be a partner in the Interreg NWE Mustbe0 project. This will pilot net zero energy makeovers of low rise apartment buildings in North West Europe.