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"Retrofit-in-a-box": Nottingham trials pioneering ventilation system

Social housing provider Nottingham City Homes has announced that it has installed the UK’s first ever offsite-manufactured Ventive Home heating and energy pod system on one of its properties.

The system, part of an innovative whole house retrofit project, is designed to help create warm, comfortable, cheaper-to-run, net-zero energy homes by replacing conventional heating systems with a pod that includes renewable technologies, energy storage and smart controls.

The pod stores and uses solar energy generated from the roof, and can access grid energy when it’s at its cheapest so that heating and electricity are provided in the most efficient way.

Testing new solutions for a net zero future

20 million UK homes need retrofitting to help achieve the UK’s climate targets. Nottingham is leading the way on this agenda, having declared the ambitious target of reaching carbon neutrality by 2028.

The Ventive Home system has been installed as part of a whole house retrofit project funded by Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which is testing ways to retrofit existing homes to the standards required for the UK’s net zero future. Nottingham City Council has secured funding from BEIS to trial net zero retrofits on 170 homes by 2022.

The project allows partners Nottingham City Council, Nottingham City Homes and Energiesprong UK to develop a new model called Destination Zero, which trials a two or three stage approach to delivering deep retrofit.

The innovative works in the Destination Zero project include innovative high performance improvements such as Q-Bot underfloor insulation, installed using robots controlled remotely from outside the property.  The first pilot home Destination Zero home has received a full package of measures including a new insulated roof, external solid wall insulation, underfloor insulation, new doors and windows, and solar panels.

The partners are also working with other landlords across the UK to pilot an Innovation Partnership procurement approach to delivering economically viable Energiesprong net zero homes.  Both approaches are intended to reduce the cost of achieving net zero standards, a key target for the funder and the Council, and crucial to help inform future retrofit plans.

Finding new ways to finance deep retrofits

The combination of high levels of insulation, and new technologies help to significantly reduce electricity costs for residents. This allows landlords to levy a comfort plan fee on properties which helps them recover their investment and gives residents healthier, warmer and more comfortable homes at no additional cost. Finding new ways like this to finance deep retrofit helps make sure that social landlords can deliver on their local and national ambitions for reducing carbon emissions and fuel poverty.

Energiesprong UK, an expert in retrofit market development, is carrying out extensive evaluation of the pilot and will be sharing lessons and key takeaways once the first results are available.

Wayne Bexton, Corporate Director for Growth and Development at Nottingham City Council says, “Testing different approaches to deep retrofit will help us deliver our ambition to be the UK’s first carbon neutral city by 2028 in the most cost-effective way. We’re keen to see projects which create warmer and healthier homes for residents whilst reducing carbon too.”

Steve Edlin, Assistant Director Asset Management at Nottingham City Homes says, “The Ventive pod appeals to us because we can install it externally, which is less disruptive for tenants and doesn’t take up valuable space in the house. It can also be maintained without having to gain access. We’re keen to use the pilot to understand the way the Ventive pod uses generated electricity and interacts with the electricity grid, and whether this can help deliver our aim of self-financing deep retrofit to help achieve Nottingham’s carbon neutral ambitions.”

Tom Lipinski, Managing Director of Ventive, says, “We’re excited to be trialling our first Ventive Home system on this project. It’s an important first stage in helping develop the product for mass manufacture.”

Emily Braham from Energiesprong UK says, ““Offsite manufactured heating and energy systems are a key component in making deep retrofit quicker, increasing its appeal and making sure it can be rapidly scaled to meet the UK net zero targets. We’re excited to be working with Ventive to trial their offsite system and understand how this technology works for landlords and tenants.”




Notes to editors:


Nottingham City Homes is an ALMO of Nottingham City Council and manages27500 council homes across Nottingham on the Council’s behalf.

Nottingham City Council has responded to the climate and environmental crisis by setting an ambition to become the first carbon neutral city in the UK by 2028. At the heart of this ambition is an approach that not only positively addresses wider environmental challenges, but improves quality of life and builds a new form of clean economic growth through a green industrial revolution.

The Whole House Retrofit project, funded by BEIS (the Department for Business, Energy, & Industrial Strategy), is focused on reducing the cost of delivery for whole-house deep retrofits, which reduces fuel poverty and carbon emissions in the homes included in this project, as well as setting the standards for lower cost retrofits in the future.

Ventive is the energy platformof modern buildings, integrating connected, data-enabled building services thatcreate comfortable and healthy internal environments. Ventive have developed a range of intelligentventilation and building services solutions to reduce energy use and saveCarbon. Research and development of Ventive Home solution was previouslysupported by £368,634 BEIS Thermal Efficiency Innovation Fund.

Energiesprong is an innovative approach to delivering net zero energy retrofit and new build homes in the UK, using offsite approaches that are financed by savings and with performance guaranteed. This includes its concept of a “Comfort Plan Fee” which helps landlords pay for retrofit measures, while providing a warmer home for tenants at the same or lower cost.