The first pilots in the UK and France are completed and further pilots in the UK, France, Luxembourg and also Germany are under development. Volume deals are in progress both in new build and retrofit. But there is still much to be done. Therefore, Energiesprong champions from 20 partner organisations gathered in Berlin to share learning and plan their next steps for delivering volume net zero energy retrofits across Europe.
Market Development Teams attended from the UK, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to compare experiences and brainstorm how to overcome obstacles.
The good news
In the UK awareness of the need for net zero energy retrofits is growing; the Nottingham pilot won the prestigious UK Housing “Innovation of Year” Award in May and the UK Prime Minister challenged the construction industry to halve the cost of deep retrofit by 2030.
In France two E=0 projects, one in Hem and the other in Longeau, have already been launched. A total of 24 demonstrators will be realised at the end of this summer. The Energiesprong movement is picking up momentum in France where the government highlighted Energiesprong in the national energy efficiency plan for housing as an example of best practice for tackling fuel poverty.
Whilst the Energiesprong supply chain remains embryonic, there are encouraging signs. Factory Zero in the Netherlands is already busy making and installing the integrated energy modules. These energy modules hold all the installations needed in Energiesprong retrofits. Sales went up from 8 units in 2017 to 350 in 2018 with present forecast sales of 1,500 modules for 2019.
Procurement is underway for the refurbishment of 24 apartments in the Kiem District of Luxembourg. Residents are highly enthusiastic and works will start next year.
The Metropolitan region of Rotterdam and The Hague in the Netherlands is exploring finance options for homeowner associations to retrofit privately owned blocks of flats. In each of seven municipalities a block of apartments suitable for a net zero energy retrofit has been selected. Advisors have met with all the homeowner associations involved to start assessing needs, barriers and potential finance options.
Learning fast from pilots
Each country shared experiences of the active pilots. In France 10 houses have been retrofitted in Hem (Lille) and work on a further 12 in Longueau (Amiens), will be completed this summer. This work has not been without its challenges, such as the delays around the laying of a mains cable to handle the solar installation. Many teething problems are preventable. For this reason, the Market Development Teams are working on a housing manual for Housing Associations to guide them through a net zero energy project.
Stimulating the supply chain
The Supply workshops put many challenges under the microscope including how to get builders to think more like product manufacturers, how to attract better component suppliers and how to achieve efficiencies of scale. A growing demand for Energiesprong retrofits will produce a market response that brings down costs and increases quality. Component suppliers are expected to compete by offering longer guarantees to secure these larger orders. This will help ensure they offer only reliable, high quality components.
Encouragingly, solution provider Melius Homes (UK) is already considering building a new factory for prefabrication. They probably will recruit between 15 and 25 people but also want to bring in automation in order to increase output.
Meanwhile, Operene in France has secured match funding for an innovative 5-year R&D project. This promises to take the technical specification used in the early pilots to a new and even higher level of sustainability for the French market.
Participants returned home excited by the prospect of the next wave of pilots and supply chain developments. Listen for example to Agnieszka Bugocka from Housing Association Vilogia in France, who just delivered their first 10 net zero energy demonstrators. She explains why Energiesprong is the solution for social housing providers in Europe.