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Mayor helps Londoners beat energy price hikes

London's largest programme to make homes energy efficient could save £100s off annual fuel bills. RE:NEW programme key to Mayor's plan to 'retrofit' London on an unprecedented scale
From press releases - 4 August 2011 09:00 AM

At a time of rising energy prices, the Mayor Boris Johnson is helping Londoners cut their fuel bills, with tens of thousands of homes set to be offered a free energy efficiency makeover. Homes in parts of Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Lewisham and Waltham Forest are the first to receive this opportunity. 

The RE:NEW energy efficiency programme is being provided to 55,000 homes in specific areas across the capital between now and May 2012, after a successful trial in nearly 9,000 homes in nine boroughs. Residents in these trials made savings of up to £154 on their annual energy and water bills but it is estimated savings could be up to £180 a year taking into account recent energy price rises. The trials saved nearly 3,500 tons of CO2, equivalent to 3,000 cars coming off London’s roads. 

The RE:NEW team will be active in selected areas across all London boroughs offering the service. This includes a tailor-made range of energy-reducing devices installed by a trained assessor. The scheme will provide a range of different measures for free such as low energy light bulbs, radiator panels and stand-by switches. It also offers water saving measures. Where appropriate, more substantial measures, such as loft and cavity wall insulation, will be offered. These will be subsidised for those able to pay and free for those on qualifying benefits helping to tackle fuel poverty. 

With 80 per cent of carbon emissions coming from buildings, this service is part of the Mayor’s vision to “retrofit" London to create an energy efficient city,  stimulate 'green-collar' jobs and help the city become more resilient to rising fuel prices. RE:NEW is funded by the Mayor and all 32 London boroughs have signed as partners in the scheme, which is being delivered in partnership with London Councils and the Energy Saving Trust. Barking & Dagenham, Hackney and Waltham Forest, with appointed contractor, London Warm Zone, and Lewisham with appointed contracror, Osborne Energy, are the first to roll out RE:NEW. The focus in these areas will be on providing energy monitors and stand by switches.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: ‘Cutting energy waste at a time of rising costs makes good economic sense and it benefits the environment by reducing CO2. I am determined to make buildings more efficient on an unprecedented scale to create jobs in a low carbon economy. This will save millions off fuel bills and fundamentally improve quality of life for Londoners. RE:NEW is simple, safe and free to access, you'd be crazy not to go for it.' 

Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: ‘The most successful energy efficiency programmes taken on area-by-area are those that offer something for everyone and where measures are installed on an individual, tailored basis. RE:NEW fits the bill on all counts – any householder, renting or owning, can benefit, and only the measures that will deliver carbon and bill savings for a given home will be considered. We’re pleased to be a part of it.’

Councillor Catherine West, Chair of London Councils Transport and Environment Committee, said: ‘Nearly 9,000 Londoners have already benefited from RE:NEW, saving more than 3,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the process. But there are many more still to go and we'll be reaching more than five times as many homes during this next stage.
‘Londoners who had their homes treated last year saved around £150 on their fuel bills.  These next steps mean that as well as making their homes more environmentally friendly, a number of the capital's poorest families will be less likely to suffer from fuel poverty next winter. As fuel prices continue to rise, this is more important than ever.’

Councillor Philip Glanville, Cabinet Member for Housing at Hackney Council, said: ‘Hackney Council is committed to ensuring that everyone in the borough is decently housed in more sustainable homes, and this includes improving the energy efficiency of residents’ homes, which can help reduce heating and water bills.’

Councillor Gerald Vincent, Cabinet Member for Regeneration at Barking and Dagenham council, said: ‘The funding is very welcome and will allow the Council to establish a Low Carbon Zone in Dagenham and apply best practice from our pilot scheme in Barking, which was also supported with funding from the Mayor of London. Reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, through a range of very simple measures, makes so much sense in addressing the challenges of climate change. Cutting the fuel bills of households, who are increasingly feeling the pinch in these difficult times, is a further bonus.’

The RE:NEW offer involves a full home energy survey carried out by a qualified home energy advisor, which takes roughly 90 minutes to do. Residents will then get a tailor-made energy saving report once the visit is complete and have a range of free energy saving measures installed. The survey will also identify whether loft, cavity or solid wall insulation could be installed. If so, the advisor will check for eligibility for national funding from sources such as the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and Warm Front (a government scheme providing insulation and heating improvements to vulnerable people in fuel poverty) as well as local borough grant schemes.  

At the same time as improving energy efficiency, RE:NEW aims to reduce fuel poverty in London and each household will be offered a benefits check to ensure residents are claiming all of the benefits and grants they are entitled to. The London boroughs are responsible for managing RE:NEW locally and are working in partnership with appointed delivery agents who will be conducting the initial home visits and assessments. All advisors will carry clear identification. 

RE:NEW is not an 'on-demand' service and is being delivered on an area by area basis because trials showed this approach resulted in more cost-effective and higher take up, helping to ensure that the city's ambitious targets can be met. It has been designed to be as easy as possible for residents. The aim is to attain the funding to expand the programme to 200,000 homes by the end of 2012 and 1.2 million homes by 2015. This will be subject to additional funding being secured principally through the Government's 'Green Deal'. RE:NEW is providing a consistent homes energy efficiency approach across London removing duplications and improving efficiencies, for example in reducing procurement costs. 

The Mayor is also working with the Olympic Delivery Authority who are providing over £1m of funding to extend the RE:NEW scheme to additional homes and retrofit up to 12 schools through the Mayor's RE:FIT programme in four of the Olympic host boroughs.  The pioneering new project will help the ODA reach the stretching target to reduce the carbon emissions of the Park by 50 per cent. 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • Londoners can find out if they are in one of the areas where this service is being offered by visiting: www.london.gov.uk/renew 
  • Those who are not in one of the areas can contact their local Energy Saving Trust advice centre on 0800 512 012 to get advice on how to reduce energy use in the home. A report of the 9,000 home demonstration phase is available here:www.london.gov.uk/implementing-renew-locally
  • For more information on RE:NEW visit: www.london.gov.uk/renew
  • Homes in Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Lewisham and Waltham Forest have already started to receive their free energy efficiency makeovers. The boroughs of Croydon, Lambeth and Wandsworth are due to start in August. Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Southwark and Westminster are due to start in September. In October, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets will start and in November, Merton, Richmond and Sutton.
  • RE:NEW is targeting all housing types and tenures including privately owned homes, rented properties and social housing.Homes will be individually assessed but measures that could be included in a carbon-reducing package are: energy efficient light bulbs; stand-by remote controlled switches; tap aerators; heat reflecting radiator panels; save-a-flush devices; water aerating shower heads; energy monitor; home insulation checks; hot water tank jackets; draught proofing; insulation advice and installation.
  • There have been several phases to the development of RE:NEW - three smaller trials were completed over the summer of 2009 in Croydon, Southwark and Hillingdon. These trials reached 817 homes, saving around 500 tonnes of carbon through the introduction of easy measures. It also achieved 286 tonnes of carbon savings from referrals for cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and heating upgrades.  Following this, the 8,119 homes that took part in larger trails were in undertaken by the following boroughs: Croydon, Camden, Lewisham, Harrow, Havering, Haringey, Hillingdon, Kingston, and Southwark. 
  • RE:CONNECT – the Mayor has invested £3 million in ten low carbon zones in London. These ten zones are demonstrating the importance of engaging residents, communities and businesses in transforming the carbon footprint of neighbourhoods. They are working to reduce their emission by 20.12 per cent by 2012. So far over 6,000 tonnes of CO2 have been saved across the zones. 3,800 homes have been retrofitted. 9,000 households and 400 businesses engaged on reducing their carbon footprint.
  • RE:FIT – the Mayor’s award winning public sector building retrofit programme is now available to every public sector organisation in the UK. It is a ready-to-use, cost neutral procurement initiative that allows the public sector to retrofit existing buildings with energy saving measures with the company installing the measures guaranteeing the annual energy savings. The Greater London Authority group has already invested £7 million in retrofitting 42 GLA buildings, 146 000 m² of occupied space in total (ten fire stations, ten police stations and 22 TfL buildings). This has made CO2 savings of 26 per cent in these buildings, 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and one million in energy bill savings. 


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