Case Study Affinity Sutton: FutureFit
Affinity Sutton commissioned the £1.2 million retrofit of 102 homes across the UK. FutureFit explored the challenge of greening Affinity Sutton's 56,000 homes. In this practical project they have retrofitted 102 homes, drawn from 22 common archetypes, around the country using three different budgets: low (£6,500), medium (£10,000) and high (£25,000).
Instead of being led by the 80% carbon reduction target, FutureFit aimed to find out what could be achieved in practice for each budget. The low and medium budgets reflect figures proposed for the Government‟s Green Deal, meaning that any results can help the industry to understand the implications of this policy.
The project covers the three key elements of retrofit: the works (through retrofitting 102 homes nationwide), people (by working with existing supply chains and staff and incorporating lifestyle advice in combination with and independent of the works) and finance (using a financial model to identify the true costs and energy savings of retrofit). All properties that have been retrofitted as well as an additional group receiving energy lifestyle advice will be monitored for one year. The first FutureFit report on the installation phase has been released and the second report will be out next year, showing actual energy and fuel bill savings and the impact of lifestyle advice.
What lessons were learned and what conclusions can be drawn from this project?
Conclusions so far following phase one report:
- The proposed Green Deal as an initiative can work, but some serious obstacles must be overcome
- There is a significant funding gap identified by the FutureFit project: if the low package were to be applied to Affinity Sutton‟s stock, the value of energy savings would cover roughly half of the investment, leaving a £130m, gap which is nearly £3,000 per property.
- Allowing registered providers, who have shown an ability to deliver works at scale with Decent Homes, more control in the process would help the Green Deal to succeed as it could help to create the economies of scale required to start reducing the massive funding gap
- This low package reduces the carbon emissions of the stock by just 18% – if packages are designed solely to meet the “golden rule‟ (so funding is not provided to cover the gap) this percentage will fall significantly. Learning from FutureFit could be applied to refine packages of works so that greater carbon savings are achieved
- To deliver this agenda and ensure support from residents, training is required for all delivery staff – from surveyors and contractors to supply chains and resident facing staff
- There is little appetite for these works among previously unengaged residents: initial response to an invitation to take part in FutureFit was just 4.8% and dropout rate during the project was 23%. Without strong encouragement and support, take up is likely to be low, calling into question the viability of a consumer-led approach under the Green Deal.
You can read more by downloading the full case study.
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