Transform-ER: Transform. Engage. Retrofit to upgrade 1 million homes a year by 2030

March 5, 2024

Transform-ER is a new consortium funded by Innovate UK to tackle the multiple barriers to retrofitting homes

Catalysing rapid and cost-effective retrofit for a better future

We need to retrofit two homes a minute to reach 2050 net zero goals – as well as provide millions of people with the warm, affordable, healthy homes they deserve. But currently the market is fragmented with complicated supply chains, labour shortages, increasing costs, and variable quality and performance.

Lack of scalable private finance remains one of the biggest barriers to action in the social housing sector, with landlords facing a £90+ billion funding gap for net zero. Many have no way of raising the required capital off-balance sheet.  

That’s why 13 industry-leading partners have teamed up to catalyse the transformative change that’s required to enable the rapid deployment of high-quality, cost-effective and performance-guaranteed retrofit solutions, which are financed under a shared savings model.

Bringing together a wealth of experience and industry knowledge, the Transform-ER (Transform. Engage. Retrofit) project, launched in April 2024 and running for 18 months, aims to deliver 300k retrofits per year, rising to one million homes per year by 2030.  

Systemic change to tackle multiple, intertwined challenges

Transform-ER will accelerate several market mechanisms simultaneously, launching a new system and marketplace for retrofit - open to existing and new delivery partners. It will achieve this by:  

  • Developing new digital tools and approaches to assessing portfolios, categorising typologies, aggregating demand, quantifying properties retrofit performance risk, and enabling standardisation - led by Ambue, Tallarna and Planarific.  
  • Creating a Community Interest Company to provide an equitable and structured ‘profit for purpose’ market vehicle. Crucially, this vehicle will unlock new income streams for retrofits which can be financed under a shared savings model and will deliver a standardised contract structure to deploy. Performance insurance will be the linchpin of this, guaranteeing outputs for both residents and investors which enables private finance to enter social housing retrofits at scale. – led by Energiesprong UK and Tallarna
  • Forming a Retrofit Rulebook to document the activities in the project as case studies and set out clear guidance for other industry actors and those wishing to join the retrofit revolution – led by MTC.

Collaborating with social housing providers to maximise positive resident impact

Social housing is the primary target, comprising 5.2 million social homes which are subject to strict EPC deadlines and high levels of fuel poverty. Project partners include The London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham and Hammersmith & Fulham, who 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. Places for People, Southern Housing and Clarion are also supporting with their extensive property portfolios.  

Deployment approaches, products, accreditation processes, and pipeline development tools will be developed concurrently, with the project enabling the required cooperation between these parts.  

This will result in a new retrofit system developed and tested, ready to launch by the close of the project in 2025. Further expansions to commercial buildings and private owners are expected once the new system is embedded and tools and solutions are proven.  

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.  

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Main image credit: Tata Steel Catnic Solar Seam Urban Roof

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