Retro and Fit Taking energy efficiency in buildings to scale

Retro and Fit Taking energy efficiency in buildings to scale
a greenfutures Special Edition              Published by

                                               and Fit
                                             Taking energy efficiency
                                             in buildings to scale
Photos: xxxxx

                        Green Futures January 2012   3
Retro and Fit Taking energy efficiency in buildings to scale
“We must make the most of what                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      “Retrofit can be art.
 we have already taken”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Otherwise, I wouldn’t be so interested”
                           Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is widely regarded               stresses the importance of an integrated approach to
                           as one of the pioneering masters of modern                design, so that steps taken at one stage do not need
                           architecture. He sought to develop a new style            to be undone or reworked later on, causing us to lose
                           defined by efficiency and simplicity. He valued space,    precious time and money.
                           and kept unnecessary ornamentation to a minimum.               We are blessed in the UK with significant natural
                           His principles have much to offer as we work towards      resources of construction material aggregate. The
                           a more sustainable construction industry.                 products Lafarge delivers, such as concrete, form the
                               Today, homes and buildings represent nearly           foundations of our infrastructure and almost every built
                           40% of our global energy demand. There’s no ‘one          development. They are in our floors, columns, walls,
                           size fits all’ solution to making them sustainable.       staircases, towers, bridges, roads, pipes, and so on.
                           The characteristics of an energy-efficient home                However, environmental pressures on land
                           vary according to the climate, the building’s size, its   increasingly restrict its availability for quarrying. When
                           function and its spatial organisation. But there are      we do quarry, we need to do so responsibly, efficiently
                           ways to design more efficient buildings, and even ones    and sustainably. But we also need to ensure that we
                           which produce as much energy as they consume.             use these materials in a way that will benefit us for
                               With every stage of a building’s life in mind,        many years to come.
                           Lafarge has developed 20 simple rules for sustainable          Times are changing. We are very aware that this is
                           construction. These will be showcased at Ecobuild         a world under pressure. Its resources are finite, and yet
                           2012, alongside a model based on the work of Ludwig       our appetite for them seems limitless. The importance
                           Mies van der Rohe.                                        of making the most of what we have already taken
Just enough and no more:       By following these principles, we aim to make the     from the earth cannot be underestimated.
the Farnsworth House,      most of freely available resources, such as sunlight,
built by Ludwig Mies van   natural ventilation and the integration of renewable      Jeremy Greenwood is Managing Director –
der Rohe in 1951           energies, and to minimise waste. The final rule           Concrete Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete UK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               If you look around a city, the majority of                      To my mind, architecture has become too
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               buildings are not used for their original                   narrowly defined. It’s about space and image, but
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               purpose. Take Bedford Square [pictured above],              also about resources and the environment. What
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               built circa 1780 to house London’s upper middle             do we need for our wellbeing? We need to survive,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               class: now home to university facilities and the odd        but fulfilment of human life and potential begins
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               printing press, among other things.                         when basic needs are met. And so there’s no trade-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Almost on a daily basis we change the buildings        off between art and architecture. Genius lies in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               around us. We should think of them as dynamic,              combining art and resources to produce a result that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               living entities. Consider the sensual experience of         is both long-lasting and fulfilling.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               being inside. You’re often not aware of the building’s          We are changing our view of the resources at our
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               structure: that’s the timeless factor. You may barely       disposal. We are moving towards more responsive
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               be aware of the services it provides, from temperature      buildings: ones that sense our movement, or
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               regulation to lighting. Then you have the scenery: the      respond to daily or seasonal changes in light and

                                                                                                                                                  Front and back cover: Penoyre & Prasad; Photos: Lafarge A&C; View Pictures Ltd / SuperStock
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               colour of the paint, the style of furniture. These things   temperature. The idea of intelligent buildings is
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               are immediate to us, and we change them all the time.       starting to make everyday sense. You walk into a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Retrofit isn’t just about cutting carbon and saving    space and the light comes on; you walk towards an
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               energy. It can also be about the wellbeing of the           escalator that starts moving…
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               people who use that building. I fundamentally believe           We live in a world where visions and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               that people need to be more aware of the spaces in          communication are really important: we need to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               which they live and work, and the profound impact           inspire people about retrofit. As architects we rely on
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               these have on our lives. We all need to talk about          advocacy and persuasion. Clients may have all the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               it more. We talk about music, cookery, the theatre,         good intentions in their mission plans, but getting
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               but not about the walls around us. The broadsheets          them to understand the implications of their own
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Photos: Penoyre & Prasad; iStockphoto / thinkstock

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               have a few column inches on architecture, but media         commitments is another thing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               attention is light.                                             Just think of the construction challenge of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Where there is coverage, new build tends to            working with people in situ. There’s nothing boring
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               dominate, instilling the feeling that working on retrofit   about such project management! Imagine being in a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               is second rate – that it doesn’t require the same           building while it changes around you. It’s a dramatic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               intellect or passion or creativity. But it does. Retrofit   thing to be the conductor of: there’s glamour in it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               can be art: if it couldn’t, I wouldn’t be so interested.        We have to transform the world around us, while
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Of course, there will be retrofit projects where things     we live in it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               are so constrained that all you can do is replace the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               boilers and plumbing… But then you probably won’t           Sunand Prasad is a Founding Partner at architects
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               need an architect.                                          Penoyre & Prasad.

2   Green Futures January 2012                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Green Futures January 2012         3
Retro and Fit Taking energy efficiency in buildings to scale
Opportunity                                                                                                                                                                                                          Winning offers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Serious Energy is pioneering a retrofit funding model in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     the US, spurred on by its success in selling solar arrays.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           start-up’s founder and president, Cisco DeVries. “And that’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           as it should be.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The start-up has already snapped up some big business,                     The city of Melbourne [below], Australia, has created a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     including the refurbishment of all 6,514 windows in the Empire        new Environmental Upgrade Charge programme, to finance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     State Building, and another contract at the New York Stock            energy retrofits in commercial buildings, using a variation of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Exchange. It works by assessing the current energy bill of the        the PACE model. Here’s how it works. The council enters into
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     client, and identifying improvements to cut those costs. It then      an agreement with both commercial property owners seeking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     offers to pay for these improvements and to pay the energy            up-front financing for projects that improve energy, water and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     bill, all at a reduced cost to the building owner.                    environmental efficiency, and with the financial institutions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           So, take a building with an annual energy spend of              willing to fund these retrofits. A private lending body advances
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     $1 million. The owner wants to cut the operating cost,                funds to the building owner to undertake the project. The

As the UK Government grapples with high targets,                                                                                                                                                                     but is put off by the upfront investment and the risk that the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     changes won’t achieve performance targets. Serious Energy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           owner or occupier pays an ongoing environmental upgrade
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           charge, levied by the council, which matches the principal and

businesses are finding cash in the attic, and creating
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     identifies energy improvements that will require a $1 million         interest. Payments are then passed on to the lender. The aim
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     investment and that will result in 25% savings. It offers the         is to reduce the risk associated with lending for the financial
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     customer a 10-year contract with a 5% Energy Bill Reduction           institution, and offer finance to property owners at a lower rate
jobs in the process, says Andrew Brister.                                                                                                                                                                            Guarantee, so that instead of paying $1 million a year in bills,      than commercial loans.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     the building owner pays Serious Energy $950,000 a year.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Serious Energy uses this money to implement the energy
                                                                                 bills [see ‘Domestic goddess?’, GF81, p30]. This                                                                                    retrofit projects and manages energy performance for the
                                                                                 much awaited scheme could lead to the upgrade of                                                                                    duration of the contract, paying the $750,000 annual bill and
                                                                                 500,000 homes a year, and Energy Secretary Chris                                                                                    using the remaining £200,000 to cover maintenance, bank
                                                                                 Huhne has high hopes that it will create 100,000 jobs                                                                               and financing fees.
                                                                                 in home refurbishment alone by 2015.                                                                                                      Californian start-up Renewable Funding was launched in
                                                                                      “The potential for low-carbon growth is                                                                                        2009, to administer Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)
                                                                                 enormous”, says Business Minister Mark Prisk,                                                                                       loans. These loans are available for home and commercial
                                                                                 co-chair of the Government’s recently established                                                                                   retrofit projects, and are paid back through fixed payments
                                                                                 Green Construction Board. “There are approximately                                                                                  as part of the property tax bill. If the owner sells the property,
                                                                                 25 million existing homes to be retrofitted by the end                                                                              these payments are passed on to the buyer. Renewable
                                                                                 of 2050. This is a huge business opportunity that                                                                                   Funding provides a comprehensive service to make the
                                                                                 small construction firms should grasp.”                                                                                             whole process easy, such as processing applications and
                                                                                      Some larger construction firms are at the ready.                                                                               providing quality assurance. “Over time, it’ll probably be
                                                                                 Willmott Dixon Re-Thinking is embarking on a range                                                                                  a very big market, and it’ll be more than just us,” says the
                                                                                 of projects to explore the most efficient ways to
                                                                                 greet the opportunity at scale, working with partners
                                                                                 and the supply chain. As David Adams, the Director
                                                                                 in charge of retrofit at Willmott Dixon, puts it, “The
                         In the UK, the halo has slipped from the                rewards are actually quite astonishing. [The Green                                                                             Siemens Financial Services UK. Worth up to                  loft insulation, and new heating systems, to solar
                         self-proclaimed “greenest government ever”.             Deal] could create jobs now, which will be paid for                                                                            £550 million over three years, this is designed to help     thermal and solar PV.”
                         First, Chancellor George Osborne performed if           in the future, without going into debt!” But, he asks,                                                                         businesses invest in both energy efficiency and other            Carillion has seen some 400 people come
                         not a U-turn then a sharp right, when he blamed a       “With such a huge prize, an enormous prize, how do                                                                             low-carbon technologies such as biomass heating.            through its Bedford Training Academy in the last
                         decade of environmental laws and regulations for        we make this work?”                                                                                                            “We are pushing our members towards the Carbon              two years, acquiring skills in all areas of low-energy
                         “piling costs on the energy bills of households and          Like many potential Green Deal providers,                                                                                 Trust scheme Implementation Services and Siemens            retrofit. “We are providing opportunities for our
                         companies”, at the Conservative party conference.       Adams and his team are keen for more detail to                                                                                 Finance, rather than the Green Deal”, says David            electricians to develop skills in solar PV, or our gas
                         Now, a nascent solar industry reels in the face of      emerge on the nitty gritty of the scheme. “We need                                                                             Frise, Head of Sustainability at the HVCA, the UK’s         engineers to work with biomass, for example”,
                         the slashing of the Government’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT)   to see what incentive mechanisms are going to be                                                                               trade association for building engineering services.        says Richardson.
     With such a         scheme – one that has done so much to create jobs       put in place, to give us a steer as to how big this                                                                            Why? Firstly, he explains, “because the scheme is                These skills are already being put to use in the
                         at a time of stagnant economic growth.                  market will actually be”, he says [see ‘We won’t get                                                                           up and running a year ahead of the Green Deal. And          north of England, thanks to a partnership between
     huge prize,              One thing remains certain. The UK Government       another chance’, p10].                                                                                                         also because the Carbon Trust is an organisation            Carillion Energy Services and Sheffield City Council.
    an enormous          has to meet its legally binding commitment to reduce         A consortium of industry leaders,                                                                                         clients are aware of and trust [due to its] track record    Their Free Insulation Scheme is designed to make
     prize, how          greenhouse gas emissions by 80% come 2050, from         including energy services provider Carillion,                                                                                  and an understanding of energy saving projects.             it as easy as possible for homeowners and private
                         a 1990 baseline.                                        the DIY giant Kingfisher, EDF Energy and                                                                                       The Green Deal is an unknown quantity, and the              tenants to benefit from loft and cavity wall insulation.
    do we make                Buildings account for almost half of all carbon    PricewaterhouseCoopers [PwC], is working on the                                                                                credibility of the Department for Energy and Climate        The scheme draws on major energy suppliers’
     this work?
                                                                                                                                                          Photo: Davis McCardle / Digital Vision / thinkstock

                         emissions, so tough legislation (such as the            business plan for a non-profit organisation, to be                                                                             Change (DECC) is not high following the FiT review.”        obligations to help their household customers
                         Building Regulations and the Carbon Reduction           called the Green Deal Finance Company. The aim                                                                                      But whether the funding comes from the Green           make savings in CO2 emissions under the Carbon
                         Commitment) comes as no surprise. It’s combined         is to create a single national body that can provide                                                                           Deal or elsewhere, Carillion is preparing itself for a      Emission Reduction Target (CERT). Funds from the
                         with carrots to bring about changes in new building     finance to all accredited Green Deal providers on an                                                                           busy time ahead, as more people become aware                energy suppliers are matched by the council, with
                         design and encourage the retrofitting of existing       equal and open basis. Paul Davies, the lead partner                                                                            of the opportunities. “We’ve been a specialist in           the aim of improving the efficiency of homes at no
                         stock, such as the Renewable Heat Incentive and         at PwC, believes it will create “a highly competitive                                                                          the low energy retrofit arena for many years, but           cost to the occupant. Over 30,000 households have
                         the forthcoming Green Deal. Due to launch in            market which will compete on cost, reliability,                                                                                the Green Deal brings this to the forefront”, says          benefited, typically enjoying savings of up to £118 a
                         October, this aims to help consumers afford energy      lifespan and technology”.                                                                                                      Carillion business partner Keith Richardson. “We            year on energy bills. Sheffield City Council believes
                                                                                                                                          Photo: Anesco

                         efficiency improvements by removing the need                 In the meantime, other funding models are                                                                                 will work with both the private and public sector           the scheme has so far been worth more than £5.4
                         for them to pay upfront. Instead, the costs will be     already attracting business, such as that offered                                                                              to recommend measures to improve energy                     million to the city through green jobs, reduced energy
                         recouped over time via a charge on their energy         by the Carbon Trust, with financial backing from                                                                               performance, from the installation of cavity wall and       costs and indirect benefits to the wider economy.

4    Green Futures January 2012                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Green Futures January 2012         5
Retro and Fit Taking energy efficiency in buildings to scale
Survival of the
                                “With recent Government figures showing nearly
                            half of Britain’s homes lack adequate insulation,
                            the example set by Sheffield could be a blueprint
                                                                                         At your leisure
                            for other local authorities across the country”, says        Working in partnership with Gateshead
                            Keeley Sharp of Carillion Energy Services.                   Council, Willmott Dixon Construction

                                But it’s not just homes that are set for a               refurbished a 1920s swimming pool that might
                            makeover. Firms will no doubt be encouraged                  otherwise have been demolished and rebuilt
                            by consultants Ernst and Young’s report into the             from scratch. The project saved the council
                            potential of the Non-Domestic Green Deal, which              substantial sums of money, and opened five
                            covers commercial and other buildings. It estimates          months earlier than a new-build equivalent.
                            that a 10% take-up would result in a market for                  The scheme was delivered under a
                            energy efficiency measures in small and medium               partnering contract, so the design team was
                            business that, by 2020, would be worth £800 million          employed by the contractor. First, the design
                            a year. Ernst and Young urges the Government
                            to adopt a more business-centric mindset in its
                                                                                         was agreed and approved, and then contractor
                                                                                         Willmott Dixon fixed a maximum price to                                                                          Green refurbishments save money and reduce CO2 emissions.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          The challenge is getting people to do them, says Carl Frankel.
                            forthcoming consultation, to make sure the benefits          implement the project, under guarantee.
                            of participation are clear and compelling enough to              From the outset, the project was set a
                            persuade businesses to get involved.                         target of “very good” under the BREEAM
                                In London, the Mayor’s RE:FIT programme is               energy assessment method. Willmott Dixon
                            set to help hundreds of public sector organisations          Re-thinking ensured sustainability was integral                                                                                              A more comfortable home, a slimmer energy                    result is predictable: people switch off and go back to
                            retrofit their premises. It works by appointing a            to the scheme, which included a combined                                                                                                     bill, more jobs for your community, less oil to              watching the telly.
   They say:                pre-qualified energy service company (ESCo) to               heat-and-power plant, along with measures to                                                                                                 import from the volatile Middle East... But in                    It’s a problem, even if you leave stretching carbon
                            undertake a range of efficiency measures. The                increase daylight by 20%.                                                                                                                    spite of these attractions, people aren’t swarming to        targets out of the equation. Energy costs are claiming
‘We haven’t got             ESCo guarantees that these will achieve a set level                                                                                                                                                       green their living space. Paul King, Chief Executive of      an ever larger chunk of people’s budgets. “Fuel prices
  any money.’               of energy savings over a defined payback period,                                                                                                                                                          the UK Green Building Council, reels off the reasons:        in the UK increased by 15-18% in the past year alone,
 We reply: ‘You             helping the organisation to justify its investment.                                                                                                                                                       “There’s an upfront capital cost barrier for many            and people’s incomes aren’t keeping pace”, warns
                                Loans to help finance the costs are available                                                                                                                                                         people, for a start. And the economic environment is         Rik Kendall of construction and support services
don’t need any.’            through the London Green Fund, set up by the              projects are ones where the customer does                                                                                                       getting more challenging, which means people are             company Carillion PLC. “We also have an aging
                            Mayor’s Office. The 42 buildings that piloted             not provide the capital for any technology                                                                                                      even less inclined to spend money. Then there’s the          housing stock in the UK that’s much less energy
                            RE:FIT, with a £7 million investment, saw savings         investment upfront. Anesco makes the investment                                                                                                 fact that people don’t know who to trust and where           efficient than the housing stock in much of Europe.”
                            of up to 40% in energy, collectively saving the city      on the customer’s behalf, and pays itself out of                                                                                                to go for reliable advice. It doesn’t help that it’s not a   About half of UK homes do not have even basic
                            £1 million a year in fuel bills, with a payback period    the savings.                                                                                                                                    sexy topic, not something people feel excited about.         insulation installed, according to the Department of
                            of seven years.                                                “We go into businesses and say this is how                                                                                                 They might be excited about putting a panel on their         Energy and Climate Change [DECC]. In Kendall’s
                                “There is a massive economic prize coming             you could improve on energy efficiency”, says CEO                                                                                               roof, but solid wall insulation is a bit of a turn-off for   words, the ‘three-legged stool’ of low incomes, rising
                            from retrofitting activity, not least in terms of the     Adrian Pike. “The first thing they say is: ‘Look: we                                                                                            lots of people.” And that’s before they get into the         energy costs and leaky buildings has led to sharp
                            solid investment opportunity it represents for private    haven’t got any money.’ We reply: ‘You don’t need                                                                                               practicalities of actually making the change...              increases in the national fuel poverty level, defined as
                            businesses”, said Mayor Boris Johnson. “It is [also]      to put any money in: the capital investment will be                                                                                                 This brings us to the intimidation factor. Green         households that spend 10% or more of their income
                            a massive potential generator of employment. In the       paid for by the energy savings.’ From a sales point of                                                                                          retrofits are a challenging process, involving a             on home heating. According to data from DECC and
                            same way that tens of thousands were employed by          view, that is not a difficult sell…”                                                                                                            host of complex and often interrelated decisions             the Centre for Sustainable Energy, close to 20% of
                            our hunger for fossil fuels, so in the 21st century, we        The new venture, formed at the end of 2010,                                                                                                [see ‘Master planning’, p14]. The person in charge           households now live in fuel poverty.
                            need the private sector to invest in green growth.”       has already attracted £6 million of equity investment                                                                                           has to decide which technologies to use, how to                   The US faces similar problems. Energy costs
                                Some quick thinkers are already investing in          from clean technology investors Zouk and SSE, and                                                                                               optimise system synergies, what the best financing           are also rising sharply, along with levels of fuel
                            new energy efficiency ventures. One promising             is on track for a £26 million turnover in its first year.                                                                                       mechanism is, and who to hire to get the job done            poverty. While the housing stock tends to be newer
                            start-up is Anesco. It offers energy efficiency and       It just goes to show that there’s a big prize waiting                                                                                           right. That’s asking a lot of a person with no expertise,    than in the UK, this positive is offset by the fact
                            microgeneration services, including solar power,          for those who can make low-carbon buildings a                                                                                                   especially when they’re inundated with information           that many Americans live in hot climates and treat
                            renewable heating, insulation and building energy         no-brainer.                                                                                                                                     and uncertain where to turn for reliable advice. The         air conditioning as a bit of a ‘right’ – alongside life,
                            management systems, as well as energy efficiency                                                                                                                                                                                                                       liberty and the pursuit of happiness… The challenge
                            consultation, to domestic and commercial                  Andrew Brister is a freelance journalist who                                                                                                                                                                 of inspiring individuals to take action is arguably
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Can the dream home of
                            customers in the UK. Around half of Anesco’s              specialises in sustainability and the built environment.                                                                                                                                                     even greater in the US, where energy wastefulness
                                                                                                                                                                                                          TV presenter Oliver Heath
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   is the norm and the return on investment numbers
                                                                                                                                                                                                          inspire the public?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One way around this dilemma is by engaging
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   people at the community rather than individual
    Well matched                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   level. This approach has much to recommend it,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   including lower prices through collective buying
    Spend a day at the cricket and come home        monitors and installing solar panels at a free                                                                                                                                                                                                 power and a level of scale that attracts subsidies
    with some of that crisp white padding… For      energy awareness session. Club members                                                                                                                                                                                                         and the combined talents of powerful players.
    your loft, that is.                             are also being offered free water saving kits                                                                                                                                                                                                  The UK’s Community Energy Savings Programme
        Durham County Cricket Club has teamed       that could save up to 95 litres of water a day.                                                                                                                                                                                                (CESP) is an example of a multi-partner approach
    up with Carillion Energy Services and               It’s all part of Durham CCC’s commitment                                                                                                                                                                                                   that engages people at the broader community level.
                                                                                                                                                  Photo: iStockphoto / thinkstock

    Northumbrian Water Ltd to help its members      to become one of the most carbon-efficient                                                                                                                                                                                                     The Government requires major energy suppliers
    and supporters save energy and water in         international test venues. Plans include a                                                                                                                                                                                                     and power generators to drive reductions in CO2
    their homes. At a recent test match against     solar PV array on the Club’s media centre,                                                                                                                                                                                                     emissions. CESP makes this possible through what
                                                                                                                                                                                    Photo: Oliver Heath

    Somerset, supporters were offered advice on     and a project to offset the carbon footprint of                                                                                                                                                                                                is essentially a matching fund programme. The
    insulation, efficient heating systems, energy   fans’ travel by funding a wind farm in India.                                                                                                                                                                                                  big energy companies put up half the money for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   house-by-house, street-by-street energy efficiency
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   improvements in low-income communities through

6    Green Futures January 2012                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Green Futures January 2012         7
Retro and Fit Taking energy efficiency in buildings to scale
Ear to the wall
                                                                                        1,800 installations. While not a huge number, “sales
                                                                                        are increasing exponentially each month”, says
                                                                                        Shannon Coulter, Vice-President of marketing. “We
                                                                                        expect to be at about 2,200 by year’s end.” 1 Block
                                                                                        off the Grid will have to demonstrate that the Groupon
                                                                                        model can persuade people to make over their homes
                                                                                        as well as their personal appearance. And of course,
                                                                                        it’s only one player. Thousands of others around the                                                                                                                    Social media offers a window on pilot retrofits,
                                                                                        world will have to contribute, too.
                                                                                             But innovative financing and delivery models
                                                                                        are only part of the puzzle. Another big part of it is
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                writes Laura Dixon.
                                                                                        communication. Consumers need to be aware of the
                                                                                        available opportunities, and inspired to pursue them.                                                                                                                                             “Boiler fitted, loft insulation done, loft hatch             negative comments affect outsiders’ perception of the
                                                                                             “We have to help people understand how                                                                                                                                                       fitted, heat exchange fan fitted. Scaffolding up for         project? Could they dissuade other householders, or
                                                                                        important this is”, says David Adams, a Director in                                                                                                                                               cavity wall to be done next week. Then I guess we’ll         even prevent future projects from going ahead?
                                                                                        the wonderfully named Re-Thinking department of                                                                                                                                                   start snagging…”                                                  But while there are risks, there are also significant
                                                                                        construction and support services company Willmott                                                                                                                                                     Michael Keeves’ Facebook post sounds like a             benefits to be gained if developers can hear what the
                                                                                        Dixon. Adams sees much potential in the Green Deal,                                                                                                                                               brag about how eco-friendly he is. But it’s actually         local residents are saying and respond. Moreover,
                                                                                        currently wending its way through the UK Parliament                                                                                                                                               proof that a pioneering project which uses social            whatever is said, this online chat builds a sense
                                                                                        [see ‘We won’t get another chance’, p10]. This                                                                                                                                                    media to engage a small community in a retrofit              of community that is crucial to keep the residents
Have a peep chez Heath,   the UK. These funds, which will total £350 million            scheme directly addresses the heavy upfront burden                                                                                                                                                scheme is working.                                           engaged over the two-year period.
part of the Old Home      over a three-year period, are matched at the                  of green retrofits by adding the cost of the retrofit to                                                                                                                                               At Rampton Drift in South Cambridgeshire, 13                 “It’s certainly helpful to know what they are talking
SuperHome Network         community level, typically by the local authority.            the home’s energy bill over a 25-year period. “But the                                                                                                                                            former Ministry of Defence houses built over 40 years        about and what their expectations are”, says Michael
                          The result: big chunks of leaky housing get an                savings aren’t huge”, admits Adams: “They’re unlikely                                                                                                                                             ago are being fitted out with £320,000 of energy-saving      Willoughby, Communications Manager at Willmott
                          energy efficiency upgrade.                                    to inspire mass engagement.”                                                                                                                                                                      and micro-generation technologies, from efficient            Dixon, Rethinking. “In theory it could help increase
                               Working under the CESP umbrella, Carillion                    So what will? Back to that telly… TV presenter                                                                                                                                               boilers to photovoltaic panels. It’s a joint endeavour       participation and prevent disputes. A future where
                          recently partnered with power company InterGen                Oliver Heath has brought more than a touch of                                                                                                                                                     involving the district and county councils, Cambridge        contractors use social media for customer engagement
                          UK, pipeline provider Northern Gas Networks,                  class to retrofit with his popular programme, ‘Dream                                                                                                                                              University, and contractors Willmott Dixon. The aim is       on a project-by-project basis certainly makes sense,
                          local community interest group Community Energy               Homes’. In the first episode, Jon and Jane restore a                                                                                                                                              to showcase the transition to low-carbon living, and         and could well be on the cards.”
                          Solutions (CES) and social housing provider Fabrick           medieval barn in East Sussex; in the second, a run-                                                                                                                                               assess which measures are most successful in cutting              “We’ve got so much to share in terms of
                          Housing Group. The purpose of this impressive                 down Georgian house is revived using local builders                                                                                                                                               energy use, in preparation for the launch of the Green       community engagement for future projects”, says
                          alliance was to replace old, inefficient electric heaters     and traditional skills… They may not be tales of your                                                                                                                                             Deal [see ‘Opportunity knocks’, p4].                         Mann. “We’ve seen that the more empowered
                          with energy efficient A-rated gas central heating             average low-income householder, but the point is                                                                                                                                                       As part of the research, the householders have          the residents have been [through having editorial
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Telling it like it is
                          systems in over 200 social housing households in              they’re aspirational.                                                                                                                                                                             committed themselves to two years of monitoring.             freedom on Facebook], the more they step up to
                          Teeside in the north of England. All the partners had               “One of the big problems with sustainability”,                                                                                                                                              The spotlight will be on both their energy bills and their   their responsibilities” – whether it’s being at home to
                          an essential role to play. The Government drove               Heath argues, “is that it appeals to a particular side                                                                                                                                            behaviour throughout the refurbishment, and digital          welcome the installers, or making sure the changes are
                          the initiative. InterGen contributed CESP funding.            of the mind – the pragmatic side: the efficiencies, the                                                                                                                                           communication is a key part of it.                           properly monitored.
    It’s important        Northern Gas and CES provided additional financing            cuts. But this practical way of thinking doesn’t make                                                                                                                                                  “The residents have a Facebook page where                    This is particularly important because the project
     that people          and access to mains gas. Carillion facilitated the            people excited. Sustainability has a duty to become                                                                                                                                               they can log in and comment on various aspects of            needs the participants to go on contributing to
     come in and          financing arrangements and installed high-efficiency          more appealing.” Heath cut emissions by 62% in his                                                                                                                                                the work, and we send regular email updates on the           the research for the next two years: a year and a
                          heaters. And, “because it’s [housing provider] Fabrick        own home, a 1960s semi in Brighton, thanks to full                                                                                                                                                progress of work”, says Tracy Mann, Principal Lead           half after the refit has been completed. But digital
     say “Wow!”           that’s going to their tenants, they’re far more inclined      insulation, a heat recovery system, solar water heating                                                                                                                                           for Community Infrastructure at South Cambridgeshire         communication is just part of the bigger picture.
                          to say, ‘Let’s have it’”, Kendall explains.                   panels, double glazing and low-energy lighting.                                                                                                                                                   District Council. “We will also be creating a website             “We see that at the moment, door knocking works
                               In the US, where a hotchpotch of renewable                    But what he’s most proud of is its looks. It’s now                                                                                                                                           that displays the real-time energy usage of their            best, and that social media is better at the younger
                          energy financing mechanisms create opportunity                part of Britain’s Old Home SuperHome Network,                                                                                                                                                     homes, anonymously, for everyone to see.” This means         end of the scale”, continues Tracy. “We also know
                          and befuddlement in roughly equal measure, a new              which means he gets to show it off to visitors at                                                                                                                                                 residents can compare their consumption with that            that people want to be informed all the time about
                          social enterprise is trying to cut through the clutter.       least three times a year. “It’s important that people                                                                                                                                             of other households, and even compete with their             everything, and any mechanism that helps keep them
                          San Francisco-based 1 Block off the Grid provides             come in and say ‘Wow! I love it!’”, he asserts. “We                                                                                                                                               neighbours, without revealing their identity.                updated is essential.”
                          one-stop shopping for prospective solar customers             have to integrate aesthetics: it’s not secondary to the                                                                                                                                                Crucially, the council updates information regularly         At the end of the day, even the best technologies

                                                                                                                                                                               Photos: Comstock Images / thinkstock; Hemera Technologies / Getty / thinkstock
                          in 40 states around the country. It works with them           sustainable design movement. Without good design                                                                                                                                                  on the Facebook page as well as by email, and there is       and most attractive subsidies will be unable to cut
                          to pinpoint their payback period, provides financing          that makes you think ‘I want that’, how are we going                                                                                                                                              no issue of editorial control: residents are free to speak   domestic emissions, unless householders are prepared
                          guidance, and then connects them with a skilled local         to sell it? If the windows are tiny, we won’t get the                                                                                                                                             their mind. The council’s hope, as stated on Facebook,       to open their doors. Finding ways to engage with them
                          installer. This installer offers a sizeable group discount,   right levels of take-up.”                                                                                                                                                                         is that others will “see the longer term benefits of a       and gain their trust will be key.
                          because 1 Block off the Grid is doing the difficult and            But, King warns, “We mustn’t assume a one-                                                                                                                                                   range of different energy efficient technologies”, and
                          time-consuming work of herding customers their                size-fits-all message when it comes to engaging                                                                                                                                                   be able to access “a wealth of information as to ‘How        Laura Dixon is a freelance journalist and regular
                          way. The smart start-up is also making use of satellite       householders. Some think it’s smart and attractive                                                                                                                                                was it for you?’”.                                           contributor to Green Futures
                          photography to do much of the analysis remotely.              to green their home; some are motivated by future-                                                                                                                                                     To date, the Facebook page largely reveals the
                               Its business model works rather like Groupon,            proofing themselves against energy price rises; others                                                                                                                                            frustrations felt by homeowners over the project.
                          the popular web-based coupon company. Groupon                 won’t find it very interesting at all. Trying to cater for all                                                                                                                                         “Waiting for money back for panels but still £3k
                          finds service providers (in anything from facials to          those people will take clever communications.”                                                                                                                                                    out of pocket. Not happy, outraged. Your thoughts?”
                          fitness classes) that are willing to give customers a              Still, where the magnitude of the stakes and the                                                                                                                                             says Shaun Rivers.
                          big one-time discount, and then sends battalions of           potential savings have failed to pull in the crowds, it’s                                                                                                                                              “Thought the scaffolding had gone up quite
                          customers their way. 1 Block off the Grid proposes to         possible that the old combination of good looks on TV                                                                                                                                             well until I discovered I couldn’t open my back door!”
                                                                                                                                                         Photo: Oliver Heath

                          do the same for solar. In fact, the company received          will do the trick.                                                                                                                                                                                says Lizz Mayers. “Luckily they are due
                          its initial round of funding from New Enterprise                                                                                                                                                                                                                back tomorrow and will be able to adjust it.”
                          Associates, which also funded Groupon. Since its              Carl Frankel is a US-based writer, specialising in                                                                                                                                                     Such a public commentary on progress could
                          launch in 2008, the company has closed on about               business and sustainability.                                                                                                                                                                      be intimidating to some developers. How might any

8    Green Futures January 2012                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Green Futures January 2012          9
Retro and Fit Taking energy efficiency in buildings to scale
“We won’t get
                                                                                                                                                                                             means that a relatively small change in tax has a          be very low, as each stamp duty calculation is already
                                                                                                                                                                                             disproportionate effect on choices: significant bang       unique, and energy performance is already centrally
                                                                                                                                                                                             for the buck.                                              logged, on a scale of A-G, thanks to obligatory
                                                                                                                                                                                                  An ideal candidate for an effective retrofit nudge    Energy Performance Certificates. All you need to do
                                                                                                                                                                                             would be stamp duty: the 1-5% tax paid on property         is combine the two. It’s also a flexible mechanism. It

another chance”
                                                                                                                                                                                             purchases. The Government could offer a slight             could be introduced at a level that would only affect
                                                                                                                                                                                             reduction on homes that are more energy efficient,         homeowners by a few hundred pounds either way,
                                                                                                                                                                                             and raise duty on inefficient ones. This would keep        but be set to increase as time goes on, so that people
                                                                                                                                                                                             the Treasury happy, because the tax lost from better-      see the benefit of acting quickly. And poorer people
                                                                                                                                                                                             performing homes could be made up through higher           needn’t be affected at all, as only homes that sell for
                                                                                                                                                                                             contributions from the power-hungry dwellings.             more than £125,000 qualify. In changing the property
                                                                                                                                                                                                  No one’s going to complain about paying less tax.     sale tax, the Government will be able to say: ‘It is
                                                                                                                                                                                             But what about those who have to pay more? Well,           your duty as a citizen to consume less energy. Fixing
                                                                                                                                                                                             that’s where the Green Deal comes in: by enabling          your leaky home is a great way of doing this, and now
                                                                                                                                                                                             householders to afford energy efficiency investments,      you have upfront cost-free tools and incentives to
                                                                                                                                                                                             it will help them to mitigate the additional stamp         encourage you to do so.’
                                                                                                                                                                                             duty with lower energy bills. And for those that don’t         The Green Deal has to work, because we won’t
                                                                                                                                                                                             want to? Well, if they are happy paying higher than        get another chance to attempt something of this
                                                                                                                                                                                             necessary energy bills they must also be happy             scale. Let’s use the taxation and metrics we already
                                                                                                                                                                                             paying higher than necessary stamp duty. That’s how        have in place to make sure it does.
                                                                                                                                                                                             the argument can run.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  There are other benefits in using stamp duty to       David Adams is a Director at Willmott Dixon, where
                                                                                                                                                                                             promote greener housing. The upfront costs would           he is in charge of retrofit.

David Adams calls for a strong
nudge towards greener homes.
                                                                                    warming water on a gas ring, consumers appear
                                                                                    to have taken on board gradual price increases
                                                                                    without getting hopping mad. People aren’t even
                                                                                    very excited by switching suppliers for a better rate.
                                                                                    So, we shouldn’t get too optimistic about take-up
                                                                                    for the Green Deal, given the relatively low savings
                                                                                                                                                                                             An alluring lease
                                                                                                                                                                                             Retrofits can be winners for landlords and tenants
                        If the UK is going to cut carbon emissions
                        by 80% by 2050, we will have to carry out a                 that people will make after efficiency measures are
                        domestic energy retrofit every minute until                 carried out, likely to be just £100-150 per year.
                        that date. And that’s if you pretend we’ll be at it
                        24 hours a day.
                                                                                         Of course, this pessimistic tone overlooks the
                                                                                    fact that we have already been successful in carrying
                                                                                                                                                                                             alike, says John Eischeid.
                              Thank heavens, then, for the Government’s             out a range of ‘easy’ energy measures, such as loft
                        Green Deal, currently going through Parliament.             and cavity wall insulation, and condensing boilers in                                                    Landlords of retrofitted buildings will find it            energy costs will make retrofit increasingly appealing to
                        Under the scheme, third party providers will fit a          their millions. In fact, these successes have meant                                                      easier to attract and keep tenants. So says Heath          both landlords and tenants.
                        variety of insulation and energy generation measures        that emissions from homes have stayed flat, even                                                         Blount of Brightworks, a US construction consultancy            One tenant’s retrofit can even bring down energy
                        to homes at no upfront cost to the homeowner. They          as the underlying trend has risen. At a certain point,                                                   specialising in sustainability.                            costs for others in the building, a domino effect that
                        will then pay back the provider with interest over a        though, we will have to carry out the more disruptive                                                         Lower energy bills are one reason, but not the only   landlords would clearly find attractive. Cosmetics
                        period of 25 years through a charge on the home’s           and expensive retrofit measures, such as insulating                                                      one. There’s reputation, too: “[Commercial] tenants are    company Av on pushed for energy-saving measures at
                        utility bills. These repayments will be less than the       floors and homes with solid walls. We’ve also got to                                                     becoming much more interested in their impact”, says       its recently opened headquarters at 777 Third Avenue          One tenant’s
                        anticipated energy savings, so the homeowner will be        work on reducing draughts: houses lose a surprising                                                      Blount. Having a space that consumes less is a natural     in Manhattan, installing individually controlled vents
                        better off overall. And because the charge is attached      amount of heat through small holes in the wall.                                                          fit with a high-profile stance on sustainability, and if   on its heating and cooling ducts. These vents have a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       retrofit can
                        to the bills, it doesn’t matter if the person moves              It’s fair to say that, although the Green Deal                                                      you’ve made public boasts about its benefits, you’re       knock-on effect for the whole building’s temperature           even bring
                        house: the benefit of the low-energy work and the           should be welcomed, even the cleverest marketers                                                         likely to hang around.                                     regulation system, as Glenn Dibiase of building owner         down energy
                        charge are passed on to the next householder.               in the business are unlikely to drive take-up, except                                                         Landlords who might once have balked at               Sage Realty explains. “When [the vents] close, they
                              Will all homeowners rush to carry out these           among enthusiastic early adopters. So how do we                                                          such renovations are now beginning to reconsider.          put air pressure back into the system. That pressure
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        costs for
                        works as soon as the Green Deal shop flips its sign         bring about a mass adoption of deep green retrofits?                                                     The economic downturn prevented some major                 causes the fans to slow down and use less electricity.        others in the
                        to open? No, they won’t. How can we be so sure?                  There are three options, as I see it. You can make                                                  refurbishments from going ahead, as building owners        Avon is not the only tenant on that system, so the               building
                        Using research grant money we offered to carry out          people do it through legislation. You can offer people                                                   grew reluctant to spend the necessary funds. But that’s    efficiency of the vents and the fans working in tandem
                        just such measures for free to owners of a group of         grants to do it. Or you can nudge people in the right                                                    changing, says Peter Belisle, President of the Energy      is passed on.” Louise Matthews, Vice President, Global
                        90 homes. Just 13 took up the offer. So why was             direction in a way that government feels it can afford.                                                  and Sustainability Services Group at Jones Lang            Real Estate for Avon, described Sage as “extremely
                                                                                                                                              Photo: © IRTsurveys ltd

                        there such a low response? Various explanations                  This Government isn’t keen on legislating except                                                    LeSalle, which carried out the retrofit for the Empire     receptive” to such measures: it is even looking for ways
                        have been suggested, including a lack of trust about        as a last resort, so we can take this option off the                                                     State Building. Why? “Because they [now] realise that      to retrofit its other properties.
                        what was being offered or fear of disruption to             table for owner-occupiers. It also has a target of                                                       the energy savings can be significant enough [to justify        Energy efficiency legislation, from California’s Title
                        home life. But, more likely, most people simply had         cutting departmental spending by £37 billion by                                                          the cost].”                                                24 to the UK’s 2011 Energy Act, is set to prompt more
                        other things to worry about. They just weren’t that         2013-14, so we can forget about option two. That                                                              Blount agrees, pointing out that while finance for    co-operation between landlords and tenants in the
                        bothered.                                                   leaves the nudge. Nudges tend to work best when                                                          new construction has declined in the last few years,       future. But there’s no need to wait for it, says Adams:
                              That’s surprising, given the fact that energy bills   people are making a decision anyway. Let’s put                                                           investment on existing buildings has actually grown.       “There is the opportunity for landlords and tenants to
                        have more or less doubled since 2005 and look set           it down to consumer inertia. So, while people will                                                       And it’s a trend likely to be sustained, says David        work together and both gain.”
                        to do so again over the next decade. But like the           tolerate creeping price rises, they absolutely hate                                                      Adams, a Director at Willmott Dixon Re-Thinking. He
                        anecdotal frog which meets its end in a pot of slowly       paying tax. It just feels like ‘one more thing’. This                                                    argues that a combination of legislation and rising        John Eischeid is a freelance writer based in New York.

10   Green Futures January 2012                                                                                                                                                                                                        Green Futures January 2012   11
Retro and Fit Taking energy efficiency in buildings to scale
Views from the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             on Climate Change, buildings globally offer almost
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             twice the carbon abatement potential of any other
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             sector. That’s quite a lot of pressure to act! But there’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             also a lock-in effect. If you only harvest 10% of that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             potential because the low-hanging fruit looks so

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             good, and stop there, you might lock in 30-40% of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             emissions. That’s a real threat. Then again, it’s not
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             realistic to assume people will go straight for an 80%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             emissions reduction. It might just be too costly, even
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             if it’s technologically possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             How can you know what to do first?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             There’s a strong argument for a whole-house plan,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             which shows you the potential, the maximum
                             “The UK has anything but a                                       solid wall insulation in my house, which was built in
                                                                                              the 1780s. I organised a delivery of insulation to my
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             you could do – and gives you a range of options,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             depending on how far you want to go. It should also
                             uniform housing stock”                                           home, but it arrived in a lorry so huge that it couldn’t                                                                                                       show you the sequence in which you ought to tackle
                                                                                              get up my road! So there I was unloading it in the                                                                                                             it. I had this done for my own home, and I’m glad I did.
                             Paul King, Chief Executive, UK Green                             street... I thought, multiply this by 26 million homes                                                                                                         I know a lot about this, but I could have made some          passive measures, and sometimes some very simple              No one-size-fits-all for
                             Building Council                                                 and we could bring the country to a standstill! And                                                                                                            basic mistakes. So, your old sash window might feel          things like bringing maintenance up to date, resetting        UK housing
                                                                                              you have to remember that, in the UK, we’ve got                                                                                                                like a priority because the wind is howling through it       or replacing controls, and the like. This is not nearly as
                             How can we get people to embrace                                 anything but a uniform housing stock. We’ll need lots                                                                                                          and it’s dripping with condensation… But actually, you       exciting as a wind turbine, or better still, a whole farm
                             energy efficiency?                                               of different solutions. But that’s not an excuse not to                                                                                                        have to think about increasing the depths of sills to        of them! Our jackdaw minds (and those of politicians
                             Marketing is a huge challenge, because efficiency has            do anything. We simply have to try bringing all the                                                                                                            install solid wall insulation; otherwise, you might have     and officials) are much more attracted to shiny things
                             to be communicated differently to different audiences.           different elements together. We need to know about                                                                                                             to rip out your nice new window later on.                    that whizz around and represent a visible response to

                                                                                                                                                                                   Photos: Patrick Wang / shutterstock; David Banks / Getty; The GPT Group
                             There’s an amazing diversity of players, from those              all the things that can go wrong, and try to iron them                                                                                                                                                                      the challenge of climate change, than they are to low-
                             actually managing the financial mechanisms and                   out before the Green Deal is launched.                                                                                                                                                                                      tech work in the fabric of a building.
                             services, to high street retailers, housing associations,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Energy that doesn’t need to be generated at all,
                             contractors, energy companies… Then there are                    Are we facing a skill gap?                                                                                                                                                                                                  because it isn’t being consumed, doesn’t get the
                             householders: we mustn’t assume a one-size fits all              “We’re facing a skills gap” has become a bit of a stock                                                                                                        “Energy efficiency measures                                 same attention. It is, however, the most cost-effective
                             message for them, either. Some are motivated by                  reaction! Talk about any sustainable development                                                                                                                                                                            way of reducing our emissions, so we need to get
                             future-proofing themselves against energy price rises;           project, and people say we have a dearth of skills.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               don’t do it for me”                                        excited by that – by the fact that we are fixing the
                             some think it’s smart and attractive to green their home;        But I never cease to be amazed at how quickly an                                                                                                                                                                            problem, and by the opportunities created at home
                             others won’t find it very interesting at all. Then there’s the   industry can gear up and deliver when market demand                                                                                                            Paul Morrell, Chief Construction Advisor to                  and abroad in knowing how to do it.
                             question of who to trust. It will help to have registered        is clear. What we mustn’t do is send mixed signals.                                                                                                            the UK Government                                                 So that is what I get excited about: that we might
                             providers, like the Corgi gas installers, so that you know       If the signals are clear and strong, then a nascent                                                                                                                                                                         set ourselves the ambition of being the first country

                                                                                                                                                         Photo: Ben Rahn/A-Frame
                             you’re dealing with someone competent.                           industry will be bubbling away.                                                                                                                                I’m afraid, though I know I shouldn’t say it, that I         in the world that knows how to decarbonise an entire
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             cannot get excited about energy efficiency measures          economy, effectively and economically – knowing, if
                             If we can break through the trust barrier,                       Should we aim to do everything we can to a                                                                                                                     – and I actually think that the search for excitement        you accept the science (and I’m not clever enough
                             will it be easy?                                                 property as soon as possible?                                                                                                                                  might be part of the problem. Energy efficiency is first     not to), that the whole world will need to follow. How
                             There are still practical difficulties. I recently installed     According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel                                                                                                                  of all a matter of the careful application of well-chosen    much of an opportunity would that represent?

                                                                                 glass reduces solar heat                                                                                                                                                                                              into the local sewer. One       Largest scale
     Transformers                                                                gain. A third internal layer
                                                                                 filters sunlight through a
                                                                                 hand-woven textile that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       of the most significant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       energy reductions comes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       from an efficient cooling
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       1200 Buildings Programme,
                                                                                 depicts the town’s industrial                                                                                                                                                                                         system. The building            The City of Melbourne and the
     We’ve picked some pioneering                                                past. The changes have                                                                                                                                                                                                earned a BREEAM                 Victoria Government, Australia,
     examples to prove that retrofit can                                         improved the library’s
                                                                                 energy efficiency by 67%.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ‘Excellent’ rating.             have set a goal to refurbish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       1,200 commercial buildings
     be big, bold and beautiful.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Most improved                   to reduce emissions, use less
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       water and create healthier work
                                                                                 Most attractive                                                                                                                                                                                                     100 Princedale Road,              environments. It’s being touted
     Least recognisable                                                          Unilever House, London
                                                                                 The goal here was to keep the aesthetics of Unilever’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     This domestic retrofit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       as the largest transformation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       in the city for 160 years, and
     The Hespeler Library, Cambridge, Canada                                     neoclassical headquarters intact, breathing “new life into a                                                                                                                smashed its targets, cutting carbon emissions by 83% and                  hopes are high that it will
     The Hespeler Library was originally built in 1922 at a cost of              stunning but under-performing [Grade 2] listed building”. Arup’s                                                                                                            energy use by 94%, and scooping a Green Apple Award. It                   generate AU$1.3 billion in
     $14,500, funded by the Carnegie Foundation. Kongats Architects              solution preserved 60% of the original building, behind its                                                                                                                 saves the tenants £910 a year in utility bills. It was designed to        economic activity. The project’s
     won a 2010 Zerofootprint Re-Skinning Award for its work, which              spectacular fluted-column façade. Original fittings, such as the                                                                                                            Passivhaus standards, with the first triple-glazed sash windows           flagship is 530 Collins Street, owned by GPT Wholesale Office
     aimed to showcase the old building while giving it a contemporary           parquet flooring, were retained or reused, and any unwanted                                                                                                                 to be installed in the UK, alongside wall insulation. It has no           Fund. Its retrofit involved new boilers and cooling towers, a
     facelift. Mid 20th-century additions were demolished to reveal              furniture was donated to schools and charities. The refurbished                                                                                                             boilers, radiators or heating system, featuring solar thermal             combined heat and power plant, and ultra-efficient lighting,
     the original structure, and then an insulating glass ‘display case’         building now features a landscaped roof garden and spray                                                                                                                    panels for warm water and an innovative underground heat                  and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by approximately
                                                                                                                                                         Photos: xxxxx

                                                                                                                                                                                   Photos: xxxxx

     was built around the building. A double layer of ceramic frit               taps, innovations that reduce the peak flow of waste water                                                                                                                  exchanger for warmth and ventilation.                                     4,700 tonnes a year.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Left to right: The Hespeler Library, Unilever House, 530 Collins Street

12    Green Futures January 2012                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Green Futures January 2012              13
Retro and Fit Taking energy efficiency in buildings to scale
Master planning
                                                                                                                                                                                     flagship for sustainable refurbishment was not without      will not be needed in two years, thanks to cloud
                                                                                                                                                                                     its challenges. A team of specialists was assembled,        computing,” he says. “All you’ll need will be a terminal
                                                                                                                                                                                     led by owner Anthony Malkin, President of Malkin            with a connection to enable it to communicate with
                                                                                                                                                                                     Holdings, and including environmental organisation          the cloud.” These changes affect more than mere
                                                                                                                                                                                     Rocky Mountain Institute and project manager Jones          clutter, he argues. “It means that there’s no point in
                                                                                                                                                                                     Lang LaSalle. Also on board at the outset was the           spending money on putting in building services to
                                                                                                                                                                                     building’s energy supplier, and building controls           deal with the heat from electronic equipment that will,

There’s no single path to a successful retrofit,                                                                                                                                     manufacturer Johnson Controls, as the custodians of
                                                                                                                                                                                     its energy consumption data. It took seven months of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 very soon, no longer be needed.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       David Adams, a Director at the capital
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A good plan
but Andy Pearson finds out where to start.
                                                                                                                                                                                     audits, brainstorming, energy modelling and financial       works, regeneration and support services company
                                                                                                                                                                                     analysis to determine what it was possible to achieve       Willmott Dixon, agrees: “In ten years’ time, the world
                                                                                                                                                                                     within strict financial parameters.                         will look very different. You have to ask, are you
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                builds in
                                                                                                                                                                                          One of the team’s key findings was that the most       procuring your buildings today thinking about the next       room for the
                        Embarking on a retrofit can be a daunting                       Take the case of a ‘hard to heat, hard to treat’                                             cost-effective way to meet energy efficiency goals          20 years or the last 20?”                                      unknown
                        prospect. Plan it right, and the scheme will cut           1950s house in Norfolk. Its CO2 emissions were                                                    would be to integrate the plans with the existing                 However, predicting the impact of technological
                        energy use, reduce running costs, and improve the          reduced by 93% and its energy consumption by                                                      refurbishment programme. A prime example of                 developments is notoriously difficult. Hilson Moran
                        comfort and productivity of the people who use the         81%, thanks to a retrofit pilot called ‘Greening the                                              this was the refurbishment of the building’s 6,500          has a research and development team whose job
                        building day to day. For a company, it could enhance       box’, delivered by Wherry Housing Association and                                                 windows. The owners had already decided to                  it is to gaze into the future, but even they “can only
                        the brand by showcasing its commitment to a                Broadland District Council. Lafarge worked with                                                   reseal all the windows under the capital upgrade            look forward probably five years, perhaps eight years
                        low-carbon future. But get it wrong, warns the Carbon      architect Jeremy Harrell on the plans from the start.                                             programme, so it made sense to invest a little more         tops”, he says.
                        Trust, and a refurbishment can actually lead to an         Key to the success was a super insulated in situ                                                  money in improving their thermal performance to                   Perhaps a good plan, then, is one that builds in
                        increase in energy consumption through changes in          concrete ground floor, in which thermostatically                                                  achieve significantly higher energy savings. And,           room for the unknown. Instead of sealing off a fixed
                        the way a building is used.                                controlled, low-grade electric underfloor heating                                                 because the window refit reduced solar gain, it was         solution, it leaves a way in for further changes in the
                             Knowing where to start isn’t easy. Sunand Prasad      was embedded. This works alongside solar water                                                    possible to upgrade the cooling plant with more             future. It may be a hard balance to strike, but it’s an
                        of London-based architects Penoyre & Prasad counts         heating and photovoltaics installed on the roof. The                                              efficient motors and drives, rather than having to          important one – like the difference between good
                        five main things to consider. First, you have the          refurbished house now functions as a whole system,                                                replace it, which brought additional cost savings.          ventilation and a draught.
                        occupants: how they use the space, and the changes         each innovation feeding into the next. A piecemeal                                                     Across the pond in London, a refit at the National
                        they would like to see. Then there’s the fabric of the     approach to its design could not have delivered such                                              Gallery was driven as much by artistic considerations       Andy Pearson is a former editor of Building
                        building as it stands, and the way in which it has been    a result.                                                                                         as financial ones. Shedding the right light on a            Sustainable Design magazine and Building Services
                        piped and wired. Zooming out, there’s also the local            But there’s another significant benefit in getting                                           priceless collection is no easy task – and one that a       Journal. He works as a freelance writer and editor.
                        infrastructure it draws upon (utilities and plants), and   everyone together early on, says King: they are                                                   team led by conservation scientist Joseph Padfield of
                        the question of renewable energy generation on-site.       more likely to be open to solutions outside their                                                 the Gallery’s Scientific Department has been working        For a guide to low-carbon retrofit in non-domestic
 A piecemeal                 No building is an island: changes in the wider        comfort zone. “It helps to be part of a team with                                                 on for three years.                                         buildings, see Low Carbon Refurbishment of
                        economic and political landscape will also have an         experience of doing things out of the ordinary and                                                     “I’ve been testing LEDs for a number of years to       Buildings – A Management Guide, published by
 approach to                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The Carbon Trust:
                        impact. How might policy and legislation affect its        being imaginative, because they will recognise                                                    see how good they have become”, says Padfield.
 design could           running costs in the future? What targets will have        opportunities that conventional designers wouldn’t.”                                              Now, he’s convinced that the technology has
   not have             to be met? How might advances in technology                But, he adds, you have to factor in enough time to                                                advanced to a point where its application will not          For domestic buildings, check out the Energy               Art under a new light:
                        affect the way it’s used? With so many questions to        explore the options.                                                                              only save the gallery energy but actually improve the       Saving Trust’s guide, Sustainable Refurbishment:
delivered such          negotiate, it’s important to know who to ask.                   For Matthew Kitson, Head of Sustainability at                                                quality of light on the pictures too.             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the National Gallery,
    a result                 “The key to a successful refurbishment is getting     consulting engineers Hilson Moran, you have to start                                                   “We measure the levels of light on the paintings
                        the right people on board before you start ruling out      with the people who will actually use the building. As                                            continuously”, he explains. “If there is insufficient
                        options, and even before you set a final budget”,          he sees it, “the biggest factor in any refurbishment is                                           daylight [from skylights] then we add artificial light.”
                        says Doug King, Principal of low-carbon consulting         achieving occupant satisfaction”. This is particularly                                            The current system uses tungsten halogen lamps,
                        engineers King Shaw and a visiting professor of            true of commercial retrofit, he explains, where a good                                            which switch on and off in response to natural light
                        building physics at the University of Bath. “You           result “can help attract the best employees, improve                                              levels. But, Padfield says, these changes can be
                        need everybody round the table”, he argues. “The           productivity and help retain staff”. How people go                                                abrupt and “distracting for visitors”.
                        architects will be able to advise on occupancy and         about their jobs day to day has implications for the                                                   The new LED system, which will replace existing
                        space planning; the structural engineers will be           best layout of the building, which in turn impacts                                                lighting on all the gallery’s pictures and throughout
                        able to assess the degree of possible alteration or        on its structure, and on services like lighting and                                               the adjoining Sainsbury Wing, has been designed to
                        whether an existing structure can accommodate              temperature regulation.                                                                           overcome this distraction. The move is expected to
                        additional loads or the building can be extended.               Of course, any business planning a retrofit will                                             cut lighting energy consumption by 85%, which will
                        And the building services engineer can advise on           also want clear benefits to present to the board. For                                             reduce carbon emissions by up to 400 tonnes a year.
                        how to achieve a comfortable internal environment.”        Kitson, this means that the design team need a good                                               And so alongside slimmer bills, it means the gallery
                             You also need to consider the materials you’re        grasp of the client’s business model and motivations.                                             will have less to pay in carbon tax under the UK’s
                        going to be using, adds Emma Hines, Sustainable                 One of the most high profile retrofits, literally, has                                       mandatory Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy
                        Construction and Development Manager at Lafarge            been New York’s Empire State Building. The project                                                Efficiency scheme.
                        A&C UK, as these have an impact on everything              turned the 80-year-old skyscraper into one of the                                                      It’s one thing to plan a retrofit around the purpose
                        from the structure of a building to its aesthetics.        most sustainable office blocks in the US. It was driven                                           of a building today; another to plan for how it might
                        “The sooner we’re involved, the more we can help           by hard-nosed financial goals, so that the reduction in                                           be used in the future. Over time, houses become
                        with providing solutions for the client”, she says.        energy consumption and environmental impact would                                                 offices, power stations are transformed into galleries,
                                                                                                                                                 Photo: © National Gallery, London

                        “Once a client has seen the plans and said ‘Yeah, I        simultaneously enhance its profitability for the owners.                                          churches become concert halls… Lifestyles also
                        like the look of that’, it becomes much more difficult     The result was a cut of almost 40% in the building’s                                              evolve, changing what we want from our homes,
                        to suggest changes. The last thing you want is to          energy consumption – double that of a typical                                                     offices and cultural spaces. Just think how recent
                        be going back to the designers and engineers after         commercial building retrofit. And, with a payback                                                 advances in technology have already influenced the
                        the plans have been submitted, because you’ve just         of just three years, it is proof that refurbishment can                                           way we communicate or go about research.
                        come across a material with great properties that          make economic sense.                                                                                   Kitson extrapolates from current trends: “We
                        you didn’t know about before.”                                  However, turning the 80-year-old icon into a                                                 anticipate that most of the IT kit on office desks

14   Green Futures January 2012                                                                                                                                                                                               Green Futures January 2012           15
Retro and Fit Taking energy efficiency in buildings to scale Retro and Fit Taking energy efficiency in buildings to scale
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