Aiming to achieve the Mayor’s ambitious targets to reduce London’s CO2 emissions by 60% of the 1990 levels by 2025, the Greater London Authority (GLA) has set a challenge to design and deliver a number of retrofitting schemes that would form the vehicle for Londoners to participate and contribute to that goal.

Public buildings are a significant contributor to London’s carbon emissions – making up as much as 10 per cent of London’s total carbon footprint. The focus on retrofitting these buildings is therefore very important, especially given that 80 per cent of the buildings currently in use today will still be in use in 2050.

The RE:FIT programme is the cornerstone of London’s public building retrofit activity. The programme is being delivered by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and promoted by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40). It is the first project to be delivered in partnership with C40.

RE:FIT is an innovative scheme to provide a commercial model for public bodies to implement energy efficiency and building integrated improvements to their buildings, reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions whilst accruing substantial financial savings. This is achieved by appointing an energy service company (ESCo) to undertake energy efficiency works in buildings.

How does it work?

The ESCo guarantees a set level of energy savings, which offers a financial saving over the period of the arrangement. The risk associated with the delivery of energy savings is passed onto the ESCo rather than the owner of the building. This is known as Energy Performance Contracting (EPC). The programme streamlines the procurement process by providing pre-negotiated, EU-regulation compliant framework contracts through which a group of prequalified ESCo can undertake the design and implementation of energy-conservation measures. This standard contractual model makes it easier for public sector buyers and also reduces supplier bidding costs and time, therefore driving down costs for both parties. Unlike traditional public building improvement programmes, groups of buildings can be considered for retrofitting together, enabling greater energy and carbon savings and allowing ESCos to achieve economies of scale.

To test and demonstrate the concept, pilot projects were delivered on 42 public sector buildings across London, including Transport for London, Metropolitan Police Service, and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. These projects retrofitted energy-saving measures to approximately 146,000 m2 of building space, delivering over 7,000 tonnes reduction in carbon emissions and an average 28 per cent reduction in energy consumption. The total spent was £7 million with a payback period of seven years.

Following the success of the pilot, an OJEU compliant framework was established in 2010 for 3 years and a second framework in 2012 for a further 4 years. Building on the experience from the pilot projects and previous frameworks the GLA has procured a third one in 2016 which will drive the RE:FIT programme until 2020.

A diverse selection of projects in terms of size, sector, and budget can be encompassed into the RE:FIT programme including solar PV and street lighting.  

The current RE:FIT framework has 16 pre-qualified suppliers so as to assure that they will have the right experience and the optimum up to date technology in energy conservation measures and renewables to suit each diverse project.

Under RE:FIT there is no sharing of any of the guaranteed energy savings and energy generated, unlike other schemes within the market, meaning all achieved efficiencies are kept by the client. The entire process is supported throughout by the RE:FIT Programme Delivery Unit.

The Programme Delivery Unit (PDU)

RE:FIT’s highly skilled and experienced Programme Delivery Unit (PDU) provide free-of-charge support to public sector organisations, to help them get energy efficiency retrofit projects and programmes up, running and successfully implemented.

These organisations include London boroughs, NHS bodies, central government departments, higher education, schools and other educational establishments and cultural and heritage organisations.

The PDU also provide a range of best practice information, including case studies, access to previous RE:FIT participants to share knowledge, benchmarking and cost information on project costs, savings and carbon reductions.

The RE:FIT London Programme is able to meet most organisation’s requirements; organisations requiring high valued projects are able to go out to tender using the framework of 16, OJEU compliant specialist service providers. Alternatively, organisations whose projects are valued at a lesser amounts such as schools, are able to use a specialist service provider, already procured and therefore removing the tendering process. 

The PDU is jointly funded by the GLA and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

In March 2016 the GLA, following a successful 4.5 year initial appointment, appointed Turner & Townsend to act as the PDU to achieve the deliverables of the programme in London for an additional 3.5 year period up to August 2019.


More than 200 London public sector organisations are participating in RE:FIT. These include 31 of the 33 London Boroughs, 31 NHS organisations and over 140 other organisations, such as central government, museums and education organisations. The RE:FIT programme has so far supported for retrofitting over 660 of London’s public sector buildings, generating estimated CO2 savings of 32,000 tonnes per annum from an investment of £102 million. The GLA is aiming to retrofit an additional 450 buildings and generate savings of 90 GWh by 2020. The carbon saved so far through RE:FIT projects is equivalent to the typical annual CO2 emissions of approximately 40,000 homes in UK.

RE:FIT continues to enhance its geographical coverage and the service it provides. Since 2014 Local Partnerships have expanded RE:FIT across England and Wales, supported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the GLA has advised the Scottish government on developing an energy saving offer for buildings, while the new RE:FIT framework can include renewables and non-building assets.

Key Contacts

Sylvia Baron, Programme Director, Greater London Authority


Tel: +44 20 7983 4239

Glen Mackenzie, Director, Programme Delivery Unit, Turner & Townsend


Tel: +44 20 7544 4000

Please visit the RE:FIT website to find out more:

Financial Savings
Savings to date: £102m
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