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December 21, 2023

Blog by

Catrin Bates

Photo by

Justine Prain

Energiesprong 2023 highlights

This year has been another busy one for us, full of progress, innovation, collaboration, and new opportunities. We’ve picked out a few highlights from 2023 as we go into next year with our continued passion, optimism, and determination to develop a market for whole house retrofit at scale.

Thank you to our colleagues, funders, and partners who have all played an important role in the progress we’ve made so far in achieving this.


Delivering MustBe0 demonstrator projects in Northwest Europe

We have successfully delivered and closed the MustBe0 project this year – one of Interreg NWE’s most ambitious projects to retrofit 11 multi-storey buildings across four countries, including the first ever primary school.

A big achievement has been getting the UK project to site at Treadgold House in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, a five-storey block of 38 flats. It will be the first council-owned housing block in the UK to undergo a whole house retrofit.

The demonstrators completed so far have proved to be hugely inspirational, showcasing how apartment blocks can be transformed using offsite solutions.

Since its kick-off in 2019, the MustBe0 project has faced many challenges (Covid, Ukraine war, Brexit) but despite these, it has ultimately created warm, desirable, and affordable homes (and a school) that together are saving an estimated 1,320 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Read more about the MustBe0 project here >

16 home apartment in Germany, before and after the retrofit work


Innovation Partnership progress

The Mayor of London’s Retrofit Accelerator-Homes Innovation Partnership (RA-HIP) is another hugely ambitious project we’re delivering in partnership with Turner & Townsend. It sees eight landlords and four Solution Providers collaborate in a unique way to stimulate a new industrialised retrofit market by sharing learning and developing solutions together, while creating energy efficient, comfortable homes for residents. We call them the Retrofit Disruptors!

This year has seen some of the pilot homes completed and moving on to the next phase:

·  10 homes in the London Borough of Sutton that received funding from the DESNZ Whole House Retrofit (WHR) competition have been completed. These homes, owned by Sutton Housing Partnership, are the first retrofit project to trial the Monodraught HomeZERO product; an innovative, robust, custom designed, offsite manufactured outdoor energy services module that comprises an ASHP, hot water heat battery, MVHR, and controls.

·  In the London Borough of Enfield, 10 homes have been completed by Solution Provider Osborne, creating comfortable and energy efficient homes for the residents. Improvements to the homes include external wall insulation, MVHR, triple glazing and new doors, solar panels, ASHP, and taking properties off-gas. The new Bowtie VentBox ventilation system that contains innovative 3D printed ductwork has been installed on the homes. Their collaboration with manufacturer, Innovare, has led to a new design for an 'IKEA style' panelised system that responds to logistical issues from installing larger format panels. Enfield Council is now progressing to the next stage of the RA-HIP programme, with a further 176 homes in the pipeline.

Next year we will be publishing a Playbook to share learnings from the RA-HIP pilots to offer invaluable advice and insights from these pioneering projects.

Find out more about the Innovation Partnerships here >


Showcasing innovation

In February we held an Innovation Showcase in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham (LBBD) to show our whole house retrofit scheme in action as part of the Mayor of London’s Retrofit Accelerator-Homes Innovation Partnership (RA-HIP).

Leaders and key players in the retrofit sector had the opportunity to see the installation of innovative products and get together to discuss what’s needed to make whole house retrofit a reality at scale.

Read our top ten highlights from the day >

Following this event, Lord Callanan visited the same site in LBBD to see the innovative ‘kit of parts’ panel system by Ultrapanel being installed on the pilot homes.


Innovation Showcase delegates learning about the whole house retrofit pilot in Barking & Dagenham

Sparking inspiration and new relationships via Study Tours

We curated two Study Tours in 2023 – to Northwest Europe and Scotland – to facilitate industry-wide learning and help foster cross-sector collaboration by bringing together professionals from a range of organisations. Both trips were sponsored by Innovate UK as part of their Net Zero Heat programme.

In Europe, the 30 delegates visited France, Belgium, and the Netherlands over three days to visit retrofit schemes under the MustBe0 Interreg NWE project. The delegates also visited offsite manufacturing factory BuildUp and an Ecovillage and heard presentations from a range of speakers about their approaches to delivering net zero heat at scale.

Read all about the European Study Tour here >

And in December we curated and organised a tour to southern Scotland, hosting 50 delegates on another three-day tour to learn about net zero heat, retrofit, and decarbonisation solutions on a community scale. We visited seven retrofit schemes and two factories during the tour and heard presentations covering a range of topics from finance, digital solutions, district heating, and managing data.

See a slideshow from the Scotland Study Tour below:

Scotland Study Tour slideshow by Energiesprong UK


Collaborating to generate game changing ideas

We were selected to take part in Innovate UK’s Net Zero Heat: Design Engineering Lab this year, a funding competition that aims to tackle barriers and speed up the roll-out of decarbonised heat for buildings.

Emily Braham was one of 40 delegates in the cross-disciplinary cohort who joined a collaborative five-day residential workshop to develop game changing ideas to improve the delivery of net zero heat building upgrades.  

At the end of the week, newly formed teams pitched their ideas to expert assessors and Innovate UK funders. If successful, the teams were invited to apply for funding in the next stage of the competition to deliver concept demonstrators with grant funding available of between £1.5 million to£5 million per project.  

Read more about it here >


Baba Brinkman at the PRE-COP climate conference in Kinshasa, 2022

Rapping about Retrofit

Finally, we have to mention the Retrofit Rap that we were featured in this year by New York based rapper and science communicator Baba Brinkman, which we were thrilled about!

The rap called "Insulate it" was a collaboration between University of Colorado Boulder and aimed to "break down the science and the rationally compelling but unsexy appeal of retrofit insulation as a key factor in emission reductions to combat climate change."

It was brilliant to see the benefits of retrofit communicated in an engaging way and appealing to a potentially new audience.

We interviewed Baba about the story behind the rap, you can read it here >


Here’s to 2024 as we look forward to new projects and partnerships, sharing learnings from completed whole house retrofits from the RA-HIP and MustBe0 pilots, and organising more Study Tours to learn from others and help accelerate an industrialised retrofit sector….watch this space!