Energiesprong – making net zero energy housing a reality

Author: 09/10/2015

Although still in its early stages, Energiesprong UK is a membership organisation that has been formed by a number of leading social housing providers, construction companies, trade bodies and expert organisations. It aims to stimulate a ‘game-changing’ housing refurbishment sector in the UK and make net zero energy housing a reality – at an industrial scale.

What is Energiesprong?

In the Netherlands, several manufacturers already offer Energiesprong solutions. They use off-site manufacturing to construct mass-customised walls and roofs, which are pre-fitted with windows, doors, high levels of insulation and renewable energy measures. This improved building envelope also comes with a services pod, which houses the technical equipment and intelligence to provide heat and power.

The whole package is delivered to the site where each new section is precision fitted to the existing house with the minimum of on-site finishing. Internal improvements can include low-energy lighting and energy-efficient appliances as part of new kitchens and bathrooms - an attractive benefit for most householders. Instead of paying their energy bills, tenants pay a similar, but guaranteed amount to their housing provider to cover the cost of financing the upgrades.

Critical to the Energiesprong approach is that the total solution is provided through a single OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). This is similar to the way other manufactured products are sold – cars, computers, consumer goods – where the seller takes full responsibility for providing the product to the customer, even though that product might contain components and systems from many other manufacturers or sub-contractors. By adopting this approach in the Netherlands, inefficiencies in the supply chain are driven out, complex relationships between contractors and with the end customer are eliminated and targeted innovation is stimulated.

Energiesprong key criteria

The Energiesprong model is a radical transformation – both practically and conceptually - as its focus is on creating a volume market for solutions that satisfy four key criteria:

  1. Performance guarantee for 30 years - ensuring energy savings are locked in and guaranteed.
  2. Fast implementation without the need for occupants to move out – within one week to ten days.
  3. Affordable – with the promise of significant market volumes and harnessing mass-customisation techniques, a competitive supply sector will develop that keeps the cost of refurbishment as low as possible.
  4. Attractive – providing dwelling upgrades that occupants aspire to, dramatically improving the external and internal attractiveness, convenience and comfort, and collectively improving local neighbourhoods.

Energiesprong UK

Following a study tour to see Energiesprong in practice in the Netherlands, a small, forward-thinking group of registered providers, construction companies and building performance professionals were so impressed that they set up Energiesprong UK to explore whether this approach could be applicable in a UK context. REMI, a feasibility project supported by Innovate UK, is currently doing this and is investigating:

  • Regulatory and planning constraints and how to alleviate them.
  • UK housing archetypes and their suitability to Energiesprong solutions.
  • The creation of appropriate financing conditions.
  • How to stimulate demand for net zero energy refurbishments.
  • Mobilising potential suppliers of Energiesprong solutions to invest in the concept and develop competitive solutions learning from best practice applied in other manufacturing sectors.
  • The transformation of the refurbishment market through industry-led innovation.

The Dutch market has been transformed on the basis of conditional orders (a concept deal) for an initial 111,000 refurbishments, with scope for expansion to further housing types, private sector properties and even new-builds. We already know that there’s plenty of market potential in the UK. The English Housing Survey 2013 states that there are 9.2 million houses built between 1945 and 1980, and having an average EPC at low band D. Properties in this category are those most likely to benefit from Energiesprong solutions

The benefits Energiesprong brings

The benefits to housing stocks include:

  • Delivery of refurbishment on a large scale.
  • Refurbishment to net zero energy levels.
  • Minimum amount of work done on-site.
  • Attractive and desirable refurbished houses providing a driver for further demand.
  • Refurbishment within a week/10 days.
  • Hassle-free solution with no need for the occupants to move out.
  • Cost covered by the guaranteed energy savings.
  • Complete eradication of fuel poverty.
  • Guaranteed and affordable fixed monthly cost for the tenant, which actually represents a diminishing cost.
  • Tenant pays the housing provider.
  • Removal of tenant anxiety over energy bills means that rent will be paid on time with less likelihood of arrears.
  • Refurbishing whole terraces or streets dramatically improves the streetscape, regenerates neighbourhoods and has a positive social impact.
  • Quality product and assured performance, thereby enabling long-term warranties to be offered.

So, watch this space. In the meantime, if you’d like to find out how much of your housing stock is a good fit for Energiesprong solutions, please contact us at the National Energy Foundation.

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Please also follow Energiesprong UK on Linkedin and visit the Energiesprong UK website for further information.