Public funding is increasingly prioritising schemes that take a fabric-first approach and are delivered at scale. Installing multiple measures to larger numbers of properties in the same area yields important efficiency savings on a host of costs: planning and administration, labour, transport, access, warehousing and many other elements. These savings mean that social providers can stretch their budgets further and assist households in greater numbers.
Delivering at Scale
At SBS, we have considerable experience of planning large-scale, multi-measure schemes. On many schemes, we can achieve further economies of scale by:
- Working on a mixed-tenure basis, offering the same retrofit measures to private homeowners while we are delivering funded works in the area.
- Working on a blended funding basis, combining funding for retrofit works to social and private housing simultaneously.
- Developing new financial products that make retrofit works more affordable for ‘able to pay’ homeowners;
- Scheduling retrofit works to be carried out in conjunction with a client’s planned maintenance works.
Working at scale also tends to entail much less overall disruption to residents than when individual measures must be planned and installed separately.
The following sections explain our experience of delivering PAS-compliant projects at scale, and the results that this typically yields for our clients.
Our innovative, area-based approach seeks to maximise the impact of client budgets and to encourage the wider adoption of energy-saving measures.
On publicly-funded social housing projects, we make special efforts to offer the same work and measures to local, privately-owned homes and rented properties. It is obviously less costly to deliver works when we already have operatives, materials, plant and vehicles in the area so it makes sense to enable private householders and tenants to benefit from these economies of scale.
We take responsibility for marketing and property acquisition, and have a long and successful track record of engaging with private homeowners.
Typically, on client-funded schemes, we have been able to extend the take-up of retrofit measures by approximately 25% as a result of this proactive, mixed-tenure approach. This equates to hundreds more households that have seen lower energy bills, and communities that have seen important reductions in carbon emissions and fuel-poverty.
Delivering mixed-tenure schemes successfully also demands the effective use of funding. Fortunately, we have considerable expertise in helping clients to bid for and maximise blended funding.
For example, on some schemes we have secured SHDF funding for works to social housing, while simultaneously applying LAD3 funding to part-fund the cost of retrofitting similar measures to neighbouring private homes. In some cases, we have been able to do this at scale, working in communities across multiple towns and villages in the same local authority area.
On such schemes, we take responsibility for property-acquisition and the whole delivery process, from managing an intensive, multi-community marketing campaign to post-installation aftercare. Delivering them concurrently minimises costs and enables additional properties to be completed.
We are adept at managing large, mixed-tenure schemes and, in the near future, will be drawing upon funding from SDHF, ECO4, ECO+ and HUG2. In all cases, we will identify the best funding solution for each individual dwelling, household and wider area.
In some cases, private homeowners are deemed to be ‘able to pay’ for retrofit improvements but cashflow constraints may deter them from making relatively large ‘one-off’ investments. We therefore work with a fintech company to help make retrofit installations more affordable. The result has been an innovative financial product that features low-cost borrowing and phased payments, and which can be used in tandem with national and regional funding sources. The solution has been submitted to the Green Home Finance Accelerator (GHFA) competition.
We can take a lead on asset management, undertaking stock audits and planned maintenance reviews on many projects. Economies of scale and aligned energy efficiency retrofit works match clients’ planned maintenance programmes wherever feasible. This yields appreciable cost-savings and time-efficiencies, and ensure that budgets are spent where they will achieve the greatest positive impacts.
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We offer support and advice on all aspects of decarbonisation projects: preparing funding bids, design and planning, supply chain management, project coordination and more. We also help clients to integrate plans for decarbonisation works and routine maintenance, thereby yielding cost-saving and creating less disruption for residents.