Emissions from buildings account for 79 percent of London’s emissions. Given that over 80 percent of London’s current buildings will still be standing in 2050, a strong retrofit program is essential to meeting London’s environmental targets of reducing CO2 emissions by 60 percent on 1990 levels by 2025. However, London is challenged by a highly complex operating environment due to the size, density and diversity of the city, as well as the large number of stakeholders involved: there are currently 33 local authorities in London, along with many more public sector organizations.
In order to keep up with climate change, reduce the amount of CO2 emissions, and ensure a high quality of life for its citizens, the government of London is pursuing The Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy.
The Mayor’s Plan was adopted to make London the “Best Big City in the World” with a thriving low carbon economy, a city that is safe, welcoming and full of opportunity. The strategy incorporates the Mayor’s undertaking to reduce London’s carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2025 through a range of programs that are delivered at scale and with impact. The Mayor’s vision is that by 2025, London will have left behind its reliance on polluting fossil fuels and instead have highly energy efficient buildings that generate their own low and zero carbon energy. The two programs supporting this effort are RE:FIT and RE:NEW.
RE:FIT was developed to provide a commercial model for public bodies to implement energy efficiency and integrated improvements to buildings, reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. Retrofitting work has been carried out to 356 of London’s buildings, representing capital investment of over £44 million and resulting in energy savings of over £4.7 million per year. The program is already saving over 28,000 tons of CO2 per year. Reductions are achieved by appointing an Energy Service Company (ESCo) to undertake energy conservation measures in buildings.
RE:NEW is a program that uses public funding to install cost-effective energy efficiency measures in over 100,000 homes. The program has delivered approximately 21,000 tons of CO2 savings per year as of January 2014. The RE:New Support Team supports social housing providers, local authorities, and the private rented sector to enable domestic retrofit projects to be delivered faster, bigger and with better value for money.
RE:FIT seeks to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent of public sector buildings in London by 2025. This would retrofit 11 million m2, realizing a reduction of carbon emissions of over 2.5 million tons per year and generating savings of 45,000 tons of CO2 by 2015. The RE:FIT Program plans to accomplish this by working with London organizations to retrofit 600 buildings including schools, hospitals, libraries, universities, civic centers and justice institutions. This comprises a total work value exceeding £70 million and an estimated CO2 reduction of 64,000 tons per year. Further benefits include increased employment, roughly 20 percent savings per year to taxpayers on energy bills, and an estimated CO2 savings of 290,000 tons per year.
The RE:NEW program aims to install energy efficiency measures in London’s homes to reduce CO2 emissions, water use and NOx emissions. As of February 2014, RE:NEW saved in excess of 24,000 tons of CO2 per year and targets to save 140,800 tons CO2 per year by 2017. Retrofit activity will also reduce the energy required to heat and power homes, reducing the cost of heating a home and significantly reducing fuel poverty. The program has added benefits of improving residents’ health, supporting energy security, and job creation.