RE:NEW (formerly the Homes Energy Efficiency Programme (HEEP)) is a pan-London homes retrofitting scheme designed to promote energy efficiency in London’s housing stock. The scheme will reduce fuel bills for the capital’s residents, help tackle fuel poverty for lower income households and reduce the environmental impact of heating London’s 3.2 million homes.
The programme has completed a number of trial and demonstration stages, which have shown that the scheme can effectively reduce energy bills and CO2 emissions. The trials have also shown a high level of uptake from residents, with up to 35 per cent of households taking part in the trial areas. Despite recent reductions in public sector spending, the scheme has been able to secure £5.9 million of London Development Agency (LDA) funding and from next month will be rolled out in specific locations in each of the capital’s local authorities.
The RE:NEW scheme works by approaching households in specific neighbourhoods. Homes of all tenures are visited, street by street, and offered a free whole-house energy survey. The assessor is able to give energy and water saving advice and a range of free ‘easy measures’ (such as energy monitors, radiator panels and aerated shower heads). Households that could benefit from further measures, such as loft or cavity wall insulation, are referred on to programmes that can install these, either for free or at a subsidised rate. For low income households, RE:NEW assessors are also able to offer advice on fuel poverty and any benefits the household may be entitled to receive.
Not all households are comfortable with being approached directly on the door step. The RE:NEW scheme has been carefully designed to ensure that residents do not feel under any pressure to take part. Households are able to arrange specific appointments for a home visit, or to call their local authority when someone has approached them to verify their identity. These features have contributed to take-up rates of up to 35 per cent of households, around three times higher than other comparable schemes.