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March 5, 2024

Blog by

Catrin Bates

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Tata Steel

Energiesprong UK leading a game-changing project to revolutionise the retrofit industry

Innovate UK funded project to Transform the retrofit industry with a new approach to deliver one million homes per year

A new consortium funded by Innovate UK as part of their Net Zero Heat programme has been formed to tackle the multiple barriers to retrofitting homes.  

Through collaborative working, the experienced and diverse group of 13 industry-leading partners involved in the Transform-ER (Transform. Engage. Retrofit) project will catalyse the transformational change that’s required to meet the 2050 net zero deadline.

Transform-ER will enable the rapid deployment of high-quality retrofit solutions, with the aim of retrofitting one million homes per year by 2030. It will achieve this by accelerating several market mechanisms simultaneously, launching a new system and marketplace for retrofit that’s open to existing and new delivery partners.

The project will focus on levers for change that will overcome the barriers to retrofitting homes rapidly and cost effectively. It will adopt the Demand-Develop-Deploy structure to achieve a new retrofit system:  

  • Demand – New digital tools and approaches to assessing portfolios, categorising typologies, aggregating demand, understanding property and retrofit risk, and enabling pipelines for standardised solutions – led by Ambue, Tallarna, Energiesprong UK and Planarific.  
  • Develop – Kits-of-parts retrofit solutions and defining interoperability standards, streamlining accreditation routes, and prototyping products to cost effectively meet demand – led by BRE (Building Research Establishment), MTC (Manufacturing Technology Centre), KIN Architects, Ultraframe, Tata Steel, Bow Tie Construction and VundaHaus.
  • Deploy – New approaches to deploying retrofit solutions, including a product database and procurement platform, a digitally driven Community Interest Company (CIC) vehicle, and standardised contracts for deployment focussing on collaboration. The legal structuring for the CIC will be supported by insurance, empowering the introduction of flexible and long-term private finance – led by Energiesprong UK and Tallarna.

The London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham and Hammersmith & Fulham are also partners in the project. They will provide expertise in retrofit planning and resident engagement and benefit from better data on their housing portfolio to develop pre-qualified pipelines, as well as a new contracting approach for kit-of-parts to enable rapid volume delivery. Other named housing stakeholders include Places for People, Southern Housing and Clarion each with extensive property portfolios and sustainability targets who see the benefits of scaling retrofit to improve the energy efficiency of homes and comfort for their residents.

Social housing is the primary target for the initial 18-month Transform-ER project, which starts on 1 April 2024. Deployment approaches, products, accreditation processes, and pipeline development tools will be developed concurrently, with the project enabling the required cooperation between these parts, resulting in a new retrofit system being developed and tested, ready to launch by the close of the project in 2025. This system will be expanded to serve commercial buildings and private owners once it is embedded, and the developed tools and solutions are proven.  

Emily Braham, Director of Strategy & Operations at Energiesprong UK, said: “Two homes per minute need to be retrofitted in the UK to achieve net zero goals. At the moment the market is fragmented with complicated supply chains, labour shortages, increasing costs, and variable quality and performance.  

“Transform-ER will develop an industrialised retrofit system by bringing together experts from all parts of a future value chain while embracing the migration towards offsite construction and taking the best learning from other manufacturing-led sectors to apply to the retrofit market.

“The result will be reduced risks and optimised financing for social housing landlords with trusted advice and solutions, and clear delivery routes. And ultimately happy residents living in warm, affordable, decarbonised homes.”

The Transform-ER concept was developed during Innovate UK’s Net Zero Heat: Design Engineering Innovation Lab, a collaborative five-day residential workshop with a cross-disciplinary cohort of 40 organisations to explore game changing ideas to speed up the roll-out of decarbonised heat for buildings.  

For further information about the project, please visit the project page.


The project was launched by Innovate UK on 5 March at Futurebuild on the Future X Stage.  

Main image credit: Tata Steel Catnic Solar Seam Urban Roof

Innovate UK is the national innovation agency, supporting business-led innovation in all sectors, technologies, and regions. The Net Zero Heat programme is focused on the challenges and opportunities of moving all buildings off gas for heating space and water. This contributes to the wider organisational aim of the UK prospering from being the fastest transitioning economy to net zero.

Energiesprong UK is a non-profit organisation that’s accelerating the market transition towards industrialised whole house retrofit at scale. Our mission is for every UK home to be warm, affordable, desirable and fit for 2050. We support social landlords and suppliers with innovative contracting and procurement models including new comfort plans (Pay as You Save) and support with project inception and delivery, data analysis, approvals, business case, and building performance evaluation.  

BRE is the UK’s leading centre of expertise on building and construction. It is an independent and impartial, research-based consultancy, testing and training organisation, offering expertise in every aspect of the built environment and associated industries. Much of BRE’s work involves the development of standards and regulations and provision of best practice guidance for whole industry sectors.  

The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is an independent Research and Technology Organisation (RTO), providing a platform to prove manufacturing processes and technologies in a low-risk environment. The MTC’s mission is to generate rapid and sustainable growth by delivering integrated manufacturing-led transformational solutions.  

Ambue are democratising building decarbonisation on the road to net zero. Ambue’s integrated team of architects, designers and computer scientists has created a software platform to standardise and automate the PAS2035 delivery process, specifying and designing retrofit measures to improve the energy efficiency of homes, while mitigating the risks inherent in retrofit projects.

Tallarna, a climate technology company for the built environment, delivers Decarbonisation-as-a-Service across social housing. Backed by ABB and AmTrust Financial Services, Tallarna’s integration of software-led risk analytics, business case generation, performance insurance, financing, a contractual structure to deploy, and an O&M service wrap empowers meaningful decarbonisation that is profitable for people and the planet.  

Planarific are data and AI (Artificial Intelligence) experts who develop tools to get better building information data from existing data sets to help better develop projects.They achieve this by setting data requirements and developing Machine Learning models for building morphology to improve building stock pipeline analysis, and for estimating project risks and costs.  

KIN are architects and sustainability consultants specialising in sustainability and projects requiring high levels of innovation. In-house management, sustainability, design, MMC, and stakeholder engagement expertise.  

Bow Tie Construction is a construction company specialising in the delivery of turn-key low-energy retrofit residential projects and developing innovative solutions such as the Porch Pod and Vent Box.  

Tata Steel is a UK based steel company offering a large range of construction products. Under the brands Building Systems UK and Catnic, it has a long history of working on and developing innovative construction products and offerings either alone or in collaboration with other partners, including on government funded projects.

VundaHaus is a tech startup driving the decarbonisation of homes by industrialising the process of installing external wall insulation. They aim to bring to market a prefabricated insulation kit (currently TRL4), installed in a fraction of the time of traditional methods and at a fraction of the cost of other solutions. Combining 3D scanning, automated design and efficient off-site manufacture, VundaHaus will increase the productivity of our installer partners and drive down costs for property owners, enabling retrofit at scale.  

Ultraframe have been involved in Offsite Manufacturing for more than 40 years manufacturing over 1.5 million roofs. They have over 300 patents for and have continually invested in product development with an R&D team of over 30 people. They have developed a whole house wrap solution specifically for retrofit through the London innovation partnership and bring to the project the lessons learned, and vision for an improved approach.  

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham own 17,000 social homes, with a total of 80,000 homes in the Borough. They have targets to be net zero by 2030 and retrofitting homes to be warm and safe is a priority for them.  

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham are an ambitious local authority with targets for carbon neutral by 2030. The Becontree Estate is one of the largest in Europe, with 26,000 homes, 7,000 in social ownership.