Futureproof

The energy efficiency of millions of UK homes needs to be improved by retrofitting. To do this effectively, building standards need to be raised. Futureproof is a project that will develop the retrofit supply chain in the Bristol, B&NES, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area.

Introduction

The Futureproof project is funded by central government through the Department for Business Enterprise and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and is being led by Bristol based Centre Sustainable Energy (CSE) with key components being delivered and supported by The Green Register and some of its members. Five other projects across the UK are also receiving funding.

The principal aim of the BEIS programme is “to improve the energy performance of owner-occupied and privately rented properties by testing up to five different approaches for increasing the rates of energy efficiency improvements in non-fuel poor homes, particularly alongside renovation work, by providing support for local supply chain integration and project coordination”.

The BEIS programme is a response to Each Home Counts[1] (the output of the Bonfield Review[2]) which followed Green Deal and multiple reports of poor quality retrofits. To ensure retrofit is carried out to a higher standard, Each Home Counts identifies a consumer charter and codes of both conduct and practice for trades and wants to work to a quality mark for all energy efficiency and renewable energy measures.

To raise building standards, more rigorous emphasis will be placed on technical competence in design and installation, improved understanding of quality performance and significantly (as it has been consistently presented by The Green Register for many years) adopting a ‘whole house approach’ to retrofit.

Two other developments are important: PAS 2030 (the 2012 standard for Green Deal workmanship quality) is being revised again to cover “any entity installing energy efficiency products or systems”; and the new PAS 2035 is being created as the over-arching Code of Practice for the Energy Retrofit of Buildings. PAS 2035 will act as guidance to be applied to any domestic retrofit work in UK and will identify responsibilities across a range of required retrofit roles including assessor, designer and installer and different paths of retrofit. Both these standards are yet to be published but The Green Register is closely monitoring developments and working with some of the contributors.

The Futureproof Project will not provide grants for individuals to carry out works on their homes.

The Futureproof project commenced on November 1st 2018 and, assuming completion of a successful probation period till 31st March 2019, will continue until April 2021.

To build the retrofit supply chain in our area, Futureproof features six interwoven strands of activity. They are:

  1. 1. Targeting and marketing “early adopter” Homeowners
  2. 2. Advice for Homeowners
  3. 3. Green Open Homes events
  4. 4. Upgrading the local Supply Chain
  5. 5. Quality Assurance
  6. 6. Realising Emerging Technologies

The primary focus of The Green Register will be to upgrade the supply chain through a series of training events. These will be “delivered with builders for builders” and so support transitioning from providing ‘normal’ home improvements, such as rear or loft extensions, to offering low-risk, low carbon retrofit. As a key partner of the bid, and due to in-house experience in certain programme elements, The Green Register has been working with CSE to develop the whole programme and will be closely involved through its whole course.

The Green Register is excited about being part of this project. We have been at the forefront of training in sustainable construction for nearly twenty years and our commitment to retrofit is well established too with our hugely popular Retrofitting Traditional Buildings event being held for the thirtieth time since 2014. Joining up consumers with trusted builders is at the heart of Futureproof and critical to normalising retrofit. This is why, since March 2018, we have been developing ideas with a number of local builders on how we can collectively increase both best practice and the amount of sustainable construction in the Bristol area. In doing this we have been struck by the passion shown and the hunger to find out more. When in November 2018 we ran a site visit for builders and presented the outline of Futureproof it was clear from the feedback received that we can collectively improve the retrofit supply chain in the area.

Targeting and marketing “early adopter” Homeowners

The project will target householders already interested in low carbon retrofit with access to the capital to proceed, but who will only act if they are confident they can find a local builder who knows what they are doing.

Advice for Homeowners

Telephone advice and site visits to help home owners establish the appropriate measures and approach will be provided, together with an option of a full audit of the property. The advice will focus on helping owners make effective decisions specific to the construction type of their home, particularly about the sequencing of measures.

Green Open Homes events

Green Open Homes events will be organised where people who have made low carbon improvements open up their homes so that people interested in upgrading their own home can visit. Nationally in 2014 and 2015, 20,000 visits were made (need to say that GOH already exists other wise why would we mention this in a new project?. The local Bristol Green Doors[3] project was founded by Dan Weisselberg now working at The Green Register

Upgrade Local Supply Chain

The principal aim of the supply chain support activities delivered under the Futureproof pilot will be to increase best practice in low carbon housing retrofit across the area. This will be achieved by the following:

  • Developing a programme with an emphasis on practical demonstrations to support understanding essential building physics and so improve quality and delivery on site of a range of building works.  Topics to be covered:
    • An introduction to Sustainable Construction
    • Heat Loss –  eg. SWI & EWI; Thermal Bridging
    • Air Tightness - eg. Risks, Condensation causes, Thermal imaging
    • Moisture Control – eg. Ventilation, Risks, Detailing, Health
    • Building Services - eg. Heating, cooling and water systems, Lighting
  • Delivery of training of local builders by The Green Register with builder members Greenheart Sustainable Construction and Urbane Eco
  • Running a range of site visits and cross-disciplinary events to build awareness of quality retrofit, the Futureproof project and benefits of participating in the programme
  • Responding to member and project group builders and supporting the development of a new sustainable constructors’ network to exchange contacts, skills etc
  • Offering a mentoring package in phases two and three of the scheme
  • For more detail see document

Quality Assurance

To provide customer confidence in the quality of the work, Futureproof will operate a quality control and assurance service that will support both customers and contractors.

Realising Emerging Technologies

Futureproof will promote emerging technologies as part of the marketing offer, providing independent, impartial advice for both consumers and the supply chain.

What happens now?

We know cost and timings are obstacles to builders attending training sessions and we are delighted that the forthcoming training we will be offering will be at heavily subsidised rates that are currently being finalised.

The Green Register will soon be formally announcing full details of the first training events for Futureproof and opening our bookings system for them.

The first events in 2019 will be:

To be kept informed of events relating to Futureproof training please click here 

For more information please call The Green Register on 0117 377 3490

[2] “An Independent Review of Consumer Advice, Protection, Standards and Enforcement for home energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in the United Kingdom” commissioned by DECC, now part of BEIS, and the DCLG July 2015

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