Zero Carbon Housing Retrofit Solution Launched by Engie UK

Leading service, business energy and regeneration specialist, Engie UK believe it is their duty to develop solutions that will reduce the carbon footprint of the UK’s housing stock. In a bid to help local authorities, housing associations and other housing providers do just that, Engie UK has announced the launch of an innovative low carbon housing retrofit service to decarbonise their stock in line with the UK’s net zero plans.

They have warned that if not enough action is taken now, the existing housing supply presents a “considerable threat” to the UK’s commitment to reach net zero carbon by 2050.

Currently UK households account for more than a quarter of the entire UK CO2 emissions with half of the market only achieving an EPC rating of D or less. This means that the UK needs to take radical steps to achieve a mass reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Engie customers are being offered a range of retrofit solutions designed to help make homes greener and more energy efficient. The service includes the installation of solar PV and battery storage systems, fabric improvements to roof, walls and flooring, a low carbon heating and hot water solution, mechanical ventilation and long-term maintenance and monitoring. Furthermore, the offer is being extended to include a number of smart technologies such as the implementation of rapid EV charge points and grid balancing technologies as part of the deal.

This whole house retrofit solution guarantees reduced carbon emissions and energy bills while ensuring homes are warmer, healthier, and more comfortable.

To develop this new suite of services which Engie UK describes as a “fabric first, one-stop shop to decentralise, digitalise and decarbonise homes” it is drawing on its extensive housing retrofit experience which includes working with Dutch energy efficient building upgrades approach Energiesprong. This experience enables them to develop a product that can be tailored to individual and local requirements. 

Known as Engie Zero, it foresees the upfront costs of retrofit works being paid for by the savings generated from the improvements together with existing revenue streams and government incentives, including Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Grid Balancing Agreements.

Importantly, the Engie Zero solution can also offer clients a viable way to future proof their homes as well as providing them with a long-term energy performance guarantee.

Divisional Head of Energy and Innovation, at Engie UK, Andy Merrin said the company felt a responsibility to develop green home solutions in view of the UK’s 2050 net zero target as well as the 70 per cent of local authorities which have declared a ‘climate emergency’.

Andy Merrin said:

“We know that new homes only account for one to two per cent of total housing stock and 80 per cent of the homes of 2050 are already in existence; so it’s clear that our existing supply is a considerable threat to plans for a zero carbon future. More worrying is that in order to meet the UK 2050 target, a total of 300 homes every hour would need to be retrofitted.”

There is no doubt that the decarbonisation of the UK’s housing stock poses a major challenge. Although the government has taken steps to improve the efficiency of UK homes with the launching of the Green Homes Grant in September, the initiative is only set to run for 6 months and is already oversubscribed. There are calls for more to be done to wean UK buildings off fossil fuel heating and to bring the UK’s most draughty homes up to scratch. Significantly more policy support, regulation and investment is required to remedy this situation.

Andy Merrin went on to say:

In launching ENGIE Zero, we are able to offer our partners with a viable solution to support their climate emergency action plans, help eradicate fuel poverty and improve the quality of accommodation and wellbeing.  We hope this, in turn, helps drive substantial investment towards mass-scale renovations, so we can deliver the necessary alterations to the built environment and help make zero carbon happen.”

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher MP praised Engie for launching the new service, which he said would help lessen the environmental impact of the UK’s carbon-intensive housing stock.

He said:

The UK Government is dedicated to its net zero agenda. All of us have a role to play in the work to deliver a carbon free world. I commend ENGIE’s clear commitment to contribute to this effort to reduce the carbon footprint of our housing stock.”

Though there are many options for decarbonisation they all come with problems, from disruptive infrastructure or home retrofit needs to potentially high costs or requirements for much more extensive roll-out of zero-carbon power.

The time needed to resolve some of these issues must not be wasted. Investments need to be made in energy efficiency now without which the already steep challenge of heat would become harder still.

Engie’s flexible and integrated approach ensures optimum carbon savings in the most cost-effective way, in lockstep with the governments’ clean growth strategy.