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Places for People support brand new consortium to support retrofitting one million homes per year

Retrofitting Homes With New Places For People Consortium

Today, a new consortium funded by Innovate UK as part of their Net Zero Heat programme has been formed to tackle the multiple barriers to retrofitting homes. 

Known as Transform-ER (Transform. Engage. Retrofit), the experienced and diverse group of 13 industry-leading partners involved in the project will catalyse the transformational change that’s required to meet 2050 net-zero targets.

As we at Places for People look to accelerate our efforts to decarbonise our homes to improve their efficiency of them for the benefit of our customers and their finances, this new consortium will see the rapid deployment of high-quality retrofit solutions, with the aim of retrofitting one million homes per year by 2030. 

What does this mean in reality? 

There are many solutions to retrofitting homes, and like we said back in December with Inside Housing as a sector we need to work smarter and be more joined up. 

This project looks to do just that. By taking several market enablers – those who design solutions – Transform-ER will launch a new system and ‘marketplace’ for retrofit which will be open to delivery partners. 

The project will look at the barriers to retrofitting homes rapidly and cost-effectively and provide solutions that partners can choose from to suit their homes. 

How will it work? 

It will adopt the Demand-Develop-Deploy structure to achieve a new retrofit system:  

  • Demand – New digital tools and approaches to assessing portfolios, categorising typologies, aggregating demand and understanding property risk, enabling pipelines for standardised solutions – led by Ambue, Tallarna and Planarific.  
  • Develop – Kits-of-parts retrofit solutions and defining interoperability standards, streamlining accreditation routes, and prototyping products to cost effectively meet demand – led by BRE, MTC, KIN Architects, Ultraframe, Tata Steel UK, Bow Tie Construction and VundaHaus.
  • Deploy – New approaches to deploying retrofit solutions, including a product database and procurement platform, a digitally driven Community Interest Company vehicle, contracts focussing on collaboration, supported by insurance, enabling third party finance – led by Energiesprong UK and Tallarna.

So how do Housing Associations and their Customers benefit? 

We have had 16 Housing Ministers in the last 13 years (and seven since 2022) and the constant uncertainty means that retrofitting possibly isn’t as far on as we had hoped. 

Places for People, along with other housing associations including Southern Housing Group, and Clarion will look to provide asset data for the project to use to see if any offsite retrofit options can be used. No personal data will be shared. By collaborating in this way we will have stronger data and evidence that retrofit options will work and should look to reduce the disruption time on our Customers. The next 18-months will be spent looking into the resolutions with a view to launch the project in 2025. 

What do the experts have to say? 

Claire Bailey, Head of Innovation at Places for People said: “This prestigious project means a lot to us at Places for People and we’re excited for how it develops. Decarbonisation is a challenge, and with energy costs contributing to the financial pressures that people are facing, we can’t continue at the pace we were. 

We know that the only way we can deliver on our promises is by working in partnership and looking at whole communities over just the homes we own. This project will enable us to share significant insight and learnings so we can get this right first time for our customers. We are still learning, but this is a significant step forward in making a bigger difference for better outcomes. 

Emily Braham, Director of Strategy & Operations at Energiesprong UK, said: “Two homes per minute need to be retrofitted in the UK to achieve net zero goals. At the moment the market is fragmented with complicated supply chains, labour shortages, increasing costs, and variable quality and performance. 

“Transform-ER will develop an industrialised retrofit system by bringing together experts from all parts of a future value chain while embracing the migration towards offsite construction and taking the best learning from other manufacturing-led sectors to apply to the retrofit market.
“The result will be reduced risks for social housing landlords by providing trusted advice and solutions, and clear delivery routes. And ultimately happy residents living in warm, affordable, decarbonised homes.”

When was it launched?

Transform-ER was launched at Futurebuild in March 2024 following the development during Innovate UK’s Net Zero Heat: Design Engineering Innovation Lab, a collaborative five-day residential workshop with a cross-disciplinary cohort of 40 organisations to explore game changing ideas to speed up the roll-out of decarbonised heat for buildings.