The Retrofit Roadshow Blog

The Retrofit Roadshows will bring together industry leaders from the regions to explore the challenges and share solutions to domestic and non-domestic retrofit at both a national and regional level. If you’re looking to develop retrofit strategies; access key players; capitalise on local retrofit opportunities; learn from best practice and see the latest innovations these events are a must.

From now and as the Roadshows take place, we are inviting industry leaders in the regions to share their views on low carbon retrofits. If you would like to join the debate or have something you’d like to read or blog about please email us.

Taking advantage of RetroFit opportunity


by Andrew Orriss, SIG360 Head of Business Development

5 November 2013

The Retrofit Roadshows have been in full swing for a few months, travelling around the country and providing great platforms for debate and discussion around the biggest challenge currently facing the construction sector: how to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings.

All of these events have been a big success, but the team at SIG360 RetroFit is particularly looking forward to the Sheffield event on the 12th November.  Modesty forbids me to even consider that their enthusiasm is directly related to my 10 minute vignette in the opening plenary on “Taking advantage of RetroFit opportunity”, or indeed the afternoon workshop chaired by yours truly.  In truth their enthusiasm, like mine, is that this event is in our home town.

We have been based in Sheffield since our humble beginnings and nothing gives us greater pleasure than the prospect of helping tackle the energy efficiency challenge in our home town by helping the local housing providers deliver warmer homes by improving the performance of their existing housing stock.

Clearly this is not without its challenges, some of which I will naturally touch on during my session on the 12th, but a couple of the most significant are the issue of funding and the disruption to tenets during the installation of the upgrade.

On the funding issue I don’t believe that anyone entering this market 12 months ago would have expected that the take-up of the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) – the alternative to CESP and CERT funding – would have be quite so…….non-existent!  Granted there are schemes going ahead which have been funded via the Energy Company Obligation (although many have not!) but certainly not as many as expected, especially through the ECO Brokerage.

Part of SIG’s investment into this market was to set up a Green Deal Provider Company which I am pleased to report is now operational. However uptake is still not there. Something short of 60 Green Deal plans from the thousands of assessments carried out must signal to someone in higher authority that the consumer doesn’t have an appetite for it.  There has been enough sceptical remarks about the validity of many aspects of Green Deal finance without me joining in, so I’ll refrain from chucking my two pence in right now. However I will speculate that if a carrot doesn’t work, it may be that a stick be used to incentivise the consumer into doing something about the fabric of their home. Quite simply, it’s not something we can afford to see fail.

As energy companies hedge their bets on rates of carbon, the currency used in ECO schemes, there have been many difficult to treat properties that the schemes can’t cover the cost due to the rates available.  One can’t blame the energy companies for this – it is simply the result of the free market way in which ECO is expected to work.

Whether it is the law of unintended consequences or a desire to have open market conditions we are in the middle of a market that has failed to deliver the dream we eagerly awaited twelve months ago.

However we are a stubborn and somewhat optimistic team at SIG360 RetroFit, and are convinced that this market will turn. Homes can be upgraded to energy performance standards using the products we now have fully BBA approved within our portfolio, and with minimal disruption; we supply products on small vehicles on demand from our local distribution points, to ensure this is the case. 

If you would like to know more why not swing by Magna on the 12th and look us up.  We will be waiting on the SIG360 stand, smiling brightly – please do come and say hello!

Meeting the UK's Retrofit Challenge


Head of Environment and Climate Change at Birmingham City Council, Sandy Taylor, outlines projects and initiatives used by the local authority to provide energy saving services to its residents.

To read Sandy's blog visit

Meet the people behind the £200m North-East Green Deal scheme


By Martin Walker, Project Director, Warm Up North, Newcastle City Council

24th July 2013

Warm Up North will imminently be announcing our delivery partner to deliver our £200m contract for Green Deal and ECO measures for eight local authorities across the region.  This will make the north east of England the first region in the country to enter into a public-private partnership with a delivery partner on this basis. Don’t miss your chance to meet them and find out more about the kind of business opportunities that are available at the North East Retrofit Roadshow taking place on 5 September in Newcastle.

This exciting development for the whole of the region aims to improve the energy efficiency of tens of thousands of homes and publicly owned properties across the region.  Funded via the Green Deal and ECO, a whole range of energy efficiency improvements will be on offer including loft, solid wall and cavity wall insulation; new boilers, windows and doors; and energy saving advice.
Work will commence within the next few weeks and will run for a period of up to 8 years during which time domestic properties will be targeted as a priority – though publicly owned non-domestic properties are also within scope of the project.
Using this approach, the eight Warm Up North partner authorities (Darlington, Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, Redcar & Cleveland, South Tyneside and Sunderland) will be able to adopt an approach that reviews and addresses the energy efficiency needs of the whole property, including many properties which have been hard to treat under previous schemes.

In this way, the north-east of England will be at the forefront of efforts to tackle fuel poverty, reduce carbon emissions from its domestic stock, and create jobs in the supply chain.

With our delivery partner I’ll be running a domestic workshop in the afternoon of the Roadshow that will explain the detail of the Warm Up North programme and explore the opportunities available for local businesses. If you want a piece of the action this will certainly be an event not to miss!
For further information visit  

About Martin
Martin’s career in local government has involved a number of roles, with a strong focus on housing regeneration, including previous positions as Head of Regeneration with Chester-le-Street District Council (when it was the most improved Council in the country), and Area Director with Newcastle City Council, responsible for the direction of £510m worth of housing regeneration projects in the west of Newcastle with a strong energy efficiency component. Since April 2012, Martin has been Project Director of Warm Up North. 

Don’t miss out on the retrofit market

by Peter Owen, Energy Projects Plus

4 July 2013

Low carbon retrofits could be the boost the construction market needs. The low carbon economy in the North West is estimated to be worth £11.8bn and despite the recession it has been growing at 4-5% per annum. 1,250 new low carbon sector jobs could be created within the region each year for the next 20 years and NW businesses could save over £700m per year through improvements in their energy efficiency.

The government has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and to achieve this ambitious target we need to retrofit 700,000 properties a year - that's 13,000 per week!

So what are low carbon retrofits and how can you get a piece of the action?

Retrofitting is upgrading existing buildings with energy efficiency or renewable measures in order to reduce the amount of carbon emitted. The North West is leading the way with many pioneering initiatives. Project Viridis is a great example where a consortium of social landlords have signed up to a programme of work which will retrofit 100,000 houses in Liverpool. Alliance is the UK’s largest procurement initiative for social landlords with over 1,170 members. Set up by Fusion21, they have instigated solar, insulation and heating agreements that have delivered extensive home improvements, created jobs and saved ££s off householder bills. Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub (part of AGMA) is also looking to deliver a range of low carbon projects that will provide several opportunities for low carbon suppliers in the region.

All these key players and many others will be at the North West Retrofit Roadshow taking place on 3 September. I’ll be chairing a workshop on ‘Retrofitting at Scale’ which will explore the risks, how to make funding frameworks work and include a social housing case study. I hope to see you there. 


Roadshow Partners: