Temperate House at Kew Gardens, where RE:FIT is being used to upgrade the heating

Buildings account for over 40% of UK emissions. Yet energy efficiency is one of the easiest ways to save money and energy.

The bigger and older the building, the more likely they are inefficient. The issue is many organisations lack the knowledge to retrofit their buildings. The GLA solve this problem with their expert team that guarantees energy savings so clients can invest with confidence. To date, GLA saves 30,000 tonnes of CO2 a year and has an average payback of 8 years.

The GLA’s RE:FIT work is an inspiring example of how to retrofit public sector buildings. The framework and competitive tendering model represents an important innovation on a major scale.

Ashden judging panel

Context

RE:FIT is the Mayor of London’s innovative scheme to help public sector organisations deliver ‘spend to save’ environmental retrofit projects that improve their estates and reduce carbon emissions by making substantial guaranteed energy and financial savings.

RE:FIT provides expert advice and a framework that simplifies procurement and guarantees energy savings. This tried and tested approach is now supporting energy saving works to over 600 public sector buildings in London, including NHS and central government departments, museums and education organisations. Once the retrofits are complete, the resulting CO2 saving will be at least 30,000 tonnes each year and save the client organisations £7.1 million annually.

Inside the LSE library.

Impact

RE:FIT projects always include monitoring of energy savings, so the GLA and the participating public sector organisation can be certain of the minimum savings that are being achieved, and the actual savings are likely to be even greater. In London alone, completed projects and those in progress will deliver a CO2 emission reduction of 30,000 tonnes/year, and save the client organisations £7.1 million annually.

By March 2016, 205 organisations in London had been engaged through RE:FIT, with 619 buildings being supported for retrofitting and £93 million of investment leveraged. London projects to date have an average payback of eight years, have delivered cumulative savings of 308 GWh energy, 118,000 tonnes of CO2 and have also created an estimated 2,100 jobs in the energy services sector.

Solar panels on the roof of one of the LSE buildings.

Detail

The Programme Delivery Unit (PDU) support can include the following:

·         Engagement with RE:FIT. The PDU helps the client to gain management buy-in, and the client signs an agreement to proceed with RE:FIT.

·         Identify resources and funding. The client provides information about its buildings to the PDU, which then assesses the potential energy savings. The PDU also helps the client to identify potential sources of funding the work.

·         Invitation To Tender (ITT). The PDU supports the client while it completes the ITT templates, and issues them to a group of pre-approved RE:FIT Energy Service Companies (ESCos).

·         Mini-competition. The client hosts site visits from the ESCos, which then submit bids detailing the proposed work, the guaranteed energy savings, the capital cost and the payback period. The PDU supports the client through the visits, ESCo interviews and selection of the winning bid.

·         Investment Grade Proposal (IGP). The chosen ESCo carries out a detailed site survey and prepares the IGP, which expands on the mini-competition bid, and includes legally binding costs and energy savings. Up until this point the client could withdraw from the process at no cost, but after requesting an IGP from an ESCo, it is liable for the cost of preparing the IGP if it cancels the retrofit.

·         Installation. The ESCo carries out the retrofit work, including energy monitoring equipment, and the PDU checks that the work is progressing according to plan and budget.

·         Monitoring. The ESCo monitors the energy savings and prepares annual reports throughout the payback period. The client informs the ESCo of any changes to the building, or its use, that may affect energy consumption. If the energy savings are below the guaranteed level, the ESCo either carries out further work to increase the savings or makes financial compensation.

The clear process, provision of template documents and assistance of the PDU enable clients to undertake retrofit projects that they would not have had the expertise to complete otherwise, thus creating a completely new market.

Retrofitting our buildings is critical for hitting our carbon reduction targets, but it’s a struggle to systematically deliver improvements. RE:FIT has been a brilliant solution for us. It’s enabled my team to overcome our barriers to delivery and get savings moving and we’re looking forward to our next RE:FIT phase

Kenneth Kinsella, Director of Capital Development, London School of Economics