Creating homes and places where people want to live

Nottingham green housing project to be showcased as part of COP26 Climate Change Conference

A project to transform some of Nottingham’s hardest-to-heat council homes into super warm and energy efficient houses, has been chosen to be showcased at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

The Energiesprong NCH2050 Homes project is just one of 17 projects worldwide that will be on show at the conference, which takes place in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November 2021. Nottingham will be displayed alongside projects from Norway, Africa, Sweden, Australia, Brazil and New Zealand among others.

The project is about fitting out homes for the future, making sure they are low carbon or near net-zero carbon, bringing down resident’s energy bills and reducing fuel poverty and so, creating warmer, energy efficient homes that are up to a 2050 standard now. The project works to retrofit homes with super energy efficient measures and the DREeM (Deep Retrofit Energy Model) project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The 17 inspiring sustainable building projects, including only five from the UK, will be part of the UK Built Environment Virtual Pavilion, organised by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC). It will contain a virtual exhibition of exemplary low-carbon projects and host speeches and panel discussions at COP26.

The pavilion is one of many activities being planned to highlight the built environment's role in tackling climate change. The sector causes around 40 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions and the exhibition will highlight the role that buildings and cities can play as a solution to the climate and ecological emergency.

Energiesprong: Nottingham City Homes 2050 - DREeM (Deep Retrofit Energy Model)

The project sees the transformation of hard-to-heat council homes into super insulated, low maintenance near ‘net zero energy’ homes, increasing their energy efficiency and reducing heating and energy costs for residents. These retrofits have created desirable, warm and affordable homes, whilst tackling fuel poverty, climate change and improving the environmental performance of the homes, helping towards Nottingham’s ambition to be the first UK city to become carbon neutral by 2028.

Nottingham was the first place in the UK to pilot the ground-breaking whole-house retrofit approach known as Energiesprong, pioneered in the Netherlands. The award winning project upgrades homes with innovative energy-saving and energy-generating measures, which include:

  • Removal of existing gas boiler and gas supply
  • Super insulated external wall panels and roofs manufactured offsite
  • New doors and windows, including new internal window surrounds
  • Roof integrated solar PV panels with battery storage
  • Smart metering and building performance monitoring.
  • A new energy efficient heating and hot water system using a combination of communal ground source systems and individual air source heat pumps with thermal storage.

NCH2050 Homes is a partnership between Nottingham City Homes, Nottingham City Council, Melius Homes, Energiesprong UK, Focus Consultants, Studio Partington, Nottingham Trent University and the University of Lincoln.

An NCH tenant from the initial pilot, Ms Esther Lutzuver, said: “These homes were really cold before and I dreaded winters. Before the energy efficiency works I was planning on moving as the cold was just getting too much. I really can’t believe the difference the refurb has made. Last winter was so much better, me and my family found the house to be really warm and my energy bills have not got more expensive in fact I’m paying less. I’m so happy living here now, I’m no longer thinking of moving, I’ve recently redecorated the whole house and I’m saving up for a new carpet.”

Following a worldwide open call for entries, a rigorous selection process was undertaken to find projects for the COP26 exhibition. A judging panel comprising industry leaders from across the world selected projects that are making an immediate positive impact on the planet and people’s lives. These projects, including NCH2050, are both scalable and replicable – giving the potential to deliver far-reaching impacts.

Nottingham City Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment and Waste Services, Councillor Sally Longford, said: “I am delighted that NCH2050 has been selected as just one of five UK projects to be showcased at COP26. Nottingham was the first UK city to use the Energiesprong method and since then, many other UK projects have followed in our footsteps after seeing the success of the project here and in the Netherlands.

“Nottingham as a city is dedicated to cutting carbon emissions, with a goal of becoming the first UK city to be carbon neutral by 2028. We are making great progress, with a wide range of schemes including our fantastic sustainable transport network already bringing down our CO2 emissions per capita by 52.3% since 2005 - the highest reduction of any UK core city. The NCH2050 project plays an important part in that and I am glad that people from across the world will get to see the real difference this project is making at COP26.”

Nick Murphy, Chief Executive at Nottingham City Homes, said: “To be just one of 17 projects worldwide to be chosen for the UN showcasing shows what an impactful project NCH2050 is. We are making improvements to cold, hard to heat council homes, transforming them to make them warmer, bringing down bills for our tenants and helping to reduce carbon emissions. It really is an honour to be showcased alongside some of the best projects across the world, projects that are making a real difference to the environment. We hope that others around the world will see the benefits of this project and they too will look at ways of transforming older, colder homes in their cities – why demolish homes and rebuild when you can upgrade and improve them with home energy retrofits.”

Melius Homes Managing Director, Rob Lambe, added: “We are keen to share lessons learned on the project with others involved in reducing emissions from our existing housing stock. Harnessing the speed and efficiency that prefabrication offers, NCH2050 homes has demonstrated an approach to retrofit that can be industrialised and scaled to deliver whole house net zero solutions at the pace required to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change.”

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UKGBC: “With COP26 in November, the world is ready to tackle climate change and the built environment has a crucial part to play. We know why we must accelerate climate action and Build Better Now shows how we can get there. Everyone on the planet has a stake in our buildings and cities. I invite everyone to take inspiration from Build Better Now as a global showcase of pioneering solutions to climate change and hope that it supports the industry to create more sustainable buildings, places and cities of the future.”

Emily Braham, Strategy and Operations Director at Energiesprong UK: "We need to retrofit 2 homes a minute by 2050 to achieve our climate goals. Pioneering the unique Energiesprong model in the UK, NCH2050 Homes demonstrated how whole house retrofit results in warm, affordable, desirable homes that create as much energy as they use, at the pace we need.

“That's why it was particularly exciting to be a part of this project, with Melius Homes developing offsite manufacture insulation and technology solutions for net zero homes - testing methods that can be rapidly scaled and generating learning that can be shared across the industry."