Community Energy London Event

RetrofitWorks were delighted to attend an event at the Greater London Authority (GLA) on Wednesday evening 28th June, open to anyone with involvement or interest in community energy.

After an opening welcome to the event from Syed Ahmed, of Energy for London, Leonie Cooper AM, Chair of London Assembly Environment Committee made some very interesting comments focussing on a report released in May 2017, by the London Assembly entitled “Getting Warmer The Mayors Role in Domestic Energy & Fuel Poverty” which is well worth a read!

Dr Giovanna Speciale, Director of South East London Community Energy (SELCE), one of our RetrofitWorks advocate members, then spoke about a research project which surveyed existing community energy projects across the country.  The key message being that London has both additional challenges, such as the complexity of tenures and uncertainty of buildings lifespans, the lack of consistent support from Local Authorities, low levels of social capital, and lack of coordinated support.  London also however has unique opportunities, with carbon offsetting funding being a potential option for funding future projects and the role of the GLA who are releasing their Environment Strategy at the end of July this year, to outline their supporting plans in community energy and retrofit.

Finally, we heard from Afsheen Rashid, Chair of Community Energy England, which was founded in 2014 to lobby and create a voice for community energy, as well as build cross sector partnerships.  RetrofitWorks is a proud member of Community Energy England, which now has over 200 members. An interesting statistic from Afsheen, was that for £1.9m of funding invested in community energy, this has leveraged a further investment of £190m, an amazing figure which shows the value for money in community projects.

New RetrofitWorks website launched

After several years we thought it was time to retire the old RetrofitWorks website and replace it with a slicker, more responsive website.

So what’s new?

We’ve refreshed the website content and introduced a more dynamic blog so that we can keep you informed on what were up to and other useful insight into the retrofit industry we think is worth sharing.

We have also tailored our core audiences more, by focussing on our advocate and practitioner (trades) members.  We hope our new website helps advocate members understand how they can work with us and support our work to deliver energy efficiency services.  Furthermore, increasing our practitioner members network is a key priority for us, as we develop more schemes in the future, and expand our geographical service offering.

Finally, we have also introduced a case studies section, where we show case the installation works our practitioner member’s carryout, and show case how we develop and deliver specific schemes within certain areas.

We know how busy you are but if you have a minute, have a browse and see what you think. We’d welcome any feedback and thoughts.

RetrofitWorks latest retrofit scheme for vulnerable householders in Enfield

Late 2016 and early 2017 was dominated by Enfield Boroughs Warm and Healthy Homes scheme*.

This scheme was part of the Warm and Healthy Homes Fund, a £26.2 million pound innovative Great Britain-wide programme administered by NEA.  The programme as a whole benefited 1,000 households in areas of high fuel poverty and deprivation across England and Wales.

RetrofitWorks were the delivery partner organisation for Enfield Boroughs Scheme, who was one of 10 schemes set up across England and Wales to deliver the overall programme.

The scheme targeted vulnerable householders within the borough of Enfield with a grant of up to £4k to upgrade heating and/or insulation measures to eligible individuals who are at risk of cold‐related illness, have a disability or meet the responsibility for children criteria and are at risk of, or living in, fuel poverty.

RetrofitWorks, working with HEET, delivered £200,000 of energy efficiency work under the scheme to 59 properties.  This exceeded our original target of 40 properties, due to the high quality referrals made by our own installer members.  Householder leads were also made by HEET and front line Enfield Borough staff and organisations including Enfield CAB, private sector homes team, GPs, respiratory nurses, health trainers, public health and social care colleagues and social housing, co‐ordinating with the CCG.

The scheme was an overall success and we have gained a lot of knowledge and enhanced our customer service skills as a result of working with vulnerable householders.

*The scheme closed 1st April 2017.

Improving Customer Service

To our delight, one of our valued advocate member organisations – who are a social landlord in South London – invited a member of the RetrofitWorks team to attend a day’s training on consumer service.

Of course, we snatched up the opportunity to improve our customer service skills, found the day very informative and picked up a few new tips.  The training course involved looking into the principles of the Mary Gobber International approach for customer service, which suited us as it’s not based on scripted responses.  The approach involves having a positive, enthusiastic and helpful attitude while taking on ownership and responsibility to deal with customer enquiries.

The day filled us with confidence that we are already taking the right approach with our customer service and are very thank-full to our advocate member for thinking of us and letting us attend their training day.

We truly value the relationships we build with our advocate members, and wanted to share this story to show the benefits of working together collaboratively to deliver the best service in retrofitting customer’s properties using local qualified contractors.

New RetrofitWorks Advocate Members

We are pleased to announce our most recent advocate members as follows

  • South East London Community Energy (SELCE) – South East London Community Energy is a not-for-profit social enterprise. Formed by residents of Greenwich and Lewisham who want to play an active role in shaping the energy future of South East London, SELCE is taking action to combat climate change through generating renewable energy and tackle fuel poverty by providing advice and support for those struggling to pay their fuel bills and keep their homes warm in winter. We are working with SELCE on an upcoming ECO2t scheme…more details to be announced soon.
  • Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) – Sutton Housing Partnership manages council housing in Sutton. They aim to bring investment and improvements to homes across the borough. We are working with SHP to deliver loft insulation installations to their tenants properties.
  • Optivo (previously Viridian Housing) one of the largest housing providers in the UK, providing 44,000 homes & 90,000 people in London, the South East and the Midlands, somewhere affordable to live. We have a three year programme to deliver secondary glazing and draught proofing measures, through their Home Energy Improvement contract.
  • Repowering London – A not-for-profit organisation that specialises in facilitating the co-production of community-owned renewable energy projects. We are working with Repowering London to deliver a local retrofit scheme, funded by community feed-in tariffs.
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