How is decarbonisation funding supporting the retrofit challenge?

In the race to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, local authorities are facing one of the biggest changes, and therefore challenges, of a generation; retrofitting their existing housing stock to meet stringent decarbonisation requirements.

However, help is at hand through a number of different government funding options. Various grant funding schemes have been established to support energy efficiency and decarbonisation efforts across the country, such as:

  1. Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF): Launched in 2021, this fund aims to enhance the energy efficiency of socially rented homes. The Government has committed to allocating funding over 10 years, with contributions from housing associations. Waves 1 and 2 have already allocated over £1 billion to improve more than 100,000 social homes in England. Wave 3, set to open in summer 2024, will provide up to £1.25 billion between 2025 and 2028 to retrofit a further 140,000 homes.
  2. Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery (GHG LAD): This scheme works with local authorities to deliver grants and schemes for homeowners and landlords in England, focusing on enhancing energy efficiency and providing low carbon heating solutions.
  3. Home Upgrade Grant (HUG): Available in England, HUG offers energy-efficient upgrades and low carbon heating solutions via local authority funding.

These public sector grant schemes provide crucial support for local authorities and housing providers to meet their decarbonisation targets. Understanding and accessing these funds can significantly impact the success of retrofit projects.

Collaborating and preparing for success in grant-funded projects

Effective collaboration and early engagement among all stakeholders are critical for the success of grant-funded retrofit projects. This includes local authorities, housing associations, contractors, and residents. Early collaboration ensures that all parties understand the project objectives and how these align with broader asset management plans.

Preparation involves detailed site investigations and assessments to identify the specific needs of each housing stock. This includes understanding the current conditions and potential challenges, such as obtaining planning permission and coordinating with utility providers for necessary upgrades or connections. Unexpected issues, such as structural deficiencies or asbestos, can be uncovered during these investigations, requiring prompt resolution to avoid delays.

A critical component of preparation is achieving PAS 2035 accreditation. This standard provides a robust framework for delivering energy efficiency measures in domestic buildings, ensuring high-quality outcomes. Setting clear targets and milestones early in the project lifecycle can streamline the accreditation process and enhance project success.

Early Engagement is Key

Early engagement with partners, even before the formal submission stage, allows for comprehensive assessments of housing stock. This step helps to minimize errors and ensures the accuracy of funding applications. It is essential to develop a clear path for project delivery, integrating detailed stock analysis with funding requirements. This approach helps to avoid delays and complications during the project’s execution phase.

Engaging early also assists adapting to evolving policies and workstreams, ensuring the project remains compliant and aligned with current best practices throughout its duration.

Support is out there

Numerous resources are available to guide organizations through the complex process of applying for government funding. The Social Housing Retrofit Accelerator, provided by Turner and Townsend and supported by the Government, is an invaluable resource for social housing providers. It helps in developing high-quality bids for the SHDF, offering expert advice and support.

LHC’s upcoming Retrofit and Decarbonisation (N9) framework provides a comprehensive solution for retrofitting requirements. This framework is designed to be flexible and collaborative, supporting suppliers in achieving PAS 2030 and 2035 accreditations. LHC’s team of technical experts is available to assist suppliers in meeting these high standards, ensuring the successful delivery of retrofit projects.

Remember the residents

Engaging with tenants to inform and educate them about upcoming retrofit works is crucial. Residents may not fully understand the reasons for the works, but educating them on the benefits, such as improved energy efficiency and reduced fuel poverty, can lead to better cooperation and fewer disruptions.

Retrofit projects make homes warmer, more comfortable, and more affordable to run. Enhanced insulation and ventilation not only improve living conditions but also contribute to better health and wellbeing for residents. This transformation ensures that properties are fit for the future, meeting both environmental and social goals.

Understanding the N9 framework

The Retrofit and Decarbonisation (N9) Framework is an innovative and ambitious initiative developed by LHC to support local authorities and social housing providers to meet their energy efficiency and decarbonisation requirements.

Developed following early and extensive pre-tender engagement, the framework has been created  to support the public sector by providing access to high-quality contractors and suppliers who are capable and experienced in the execution of comprehensive retrofit projects.

The upcoming framework is designed to remain relevant throughout its four-year duration due to the flexible measures LHC has included to accommodate changes. N9 has been built for all aspects of funding through PARS, and so all suppliers accepted on the framework must be – or commit to become – PAS 2035 accredited. This is also a requirement that will need to be demonstrated when applying for wave 3 of SHDF which will be applicable when the framework goes live.

How can N9 help?

By leveraging the N9 framework, local authorities and housing providers can streamline the procurement process, ensuring access to a wide range of approved suppliers and partners. This approach not only enhances the quality and efficiency of retrofit projects but also ensures alignment with government policies and funding requirements.

The N9 framework represents a comprehensive and collaborative approach to tackling the significant challenge of decarbonising housing stock and brings a flexible solution to the market.

Through early engagement, thorough preparation, and leveraging available resources, the framework will deliver high-quality, sustainable retrofit projects that benefit both residents and the environment.

To apply for the Retrofit and Decarbonisation (N9) Framework click here  

Learn more about the framework 


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