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Retrofit for the Future (Brief) G#15149

Retrofit for the Future Brief

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Retrofit For The Future Brief






The Technology Strategy Board is launching an SBRI initiative to Retrofit UK social housing stock in order to meet future targets in reduction of CO2 emissions and energy use.

This competition is open to all companies, including social landlords and those companies not currently engaged in the construction sector.

Although there is no limit on the size or type of company applying into this competition, applications that enable small companies to participate within the supply chain are particularly welcome.

This competition ‘Retrofit for the future’ will enable building and renovation companies to retrofit social housing stock.

The competition will look for at least 50 demonstrator whole house solutions to improve the performance of the entire property with a goal to make deep cuts in carbon emissions.

We will be offering 100% funding for each proposal we accept delivered through the new SBRI cross-government initiative for the procurement of technology projects.

Suppliers for each project will be selected through an open competition process and the key area of focus will be on ambitious, cost-effective carbon and energy reductions with potential widespread applicability in low rise, whole house solutions.

The outcomes of the Retrofit for the Future Competition will be:

  • A kick start for the social housing retrofit market and associated UK business
  • Innovative solutions from UK business to evaluate for future procurement
  • Exemplar retrofitted properties with radical solutions for real people
  • A demonstrator pattern book and database
  • Development of UK skills
  • Evidence of actual in-use performance benefits and costs



  • Housing in the UK accounts for 27% of carbon emissions and more than 80% of the houses we will be living in by 2050 have already been built.
  • To meet the UK’s target of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, we must dramatically improve the performance of our existing housing stock and we must act now.
  • The Decent Homes Programme and its devolved equivalents, together with CERT (Carbon Emissions Reduction Target) have done a lot to improve energy efficiency of UK social housing.
  • Taken as a whole, the social sector is now more energy efficient than the rest of the housing stock and it is increasing its energy performance more quickly.
  • Through the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, the Government has committed itself to consider how emissions from social housing stock can be reduced still further.
  • The UK social housing sector includes over 4.5m homes.
  • There is a lot of interest in retrofitting the stock to a high standard of energy efficiency but, as a whole, the sector is not currently able to easily procure innovative and effective solutions for high performance refurbishment.
  • There is now an opportunity for the Technology Strategy Board to connect the future procurement needs of social landlords, such as local councils and housing associations, with the capability of innovative suppliers to develop a range of high
  • performance and cost effective ‘whole house’ solutions.
  • To date, the Technology Strategy Board has invested in projects within the construction industry with a value of approximately £100m.
  • The Retrofit for the Future competition offers an additional opportunity to take through some of these often radical innovations into demonstrator buildings.
  • It may also allow those UK companies that have developed innovative solutions intended for other industry sectors to apply them within the construction sector.
  • With our role to promote, support and exploit innovation, and in collaboration with our sponsoring department DIUS, the Technology Strategy Board will lead and deliver the competition.
  • Those departments and agencies that are responsible for delivering the Government’s Heat and Energy Saving Strategy will support the research, namely the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
  • ‘Retrofit for the Future’ will provide practical demonstrations where cross government working can ensure innovative technologies are pulled through to government procurement for the benefit of both UK business and UK society.



  • We are looking for proposals to develop and demonstrate whole house solutions for refurbishment that deliver deep cuts in energy use and carbon emissions, high levels of comfort and attractive costs.
  • Rather than using individual technologies, each integrated whole dwelling solution will address all the aspects of the home that can be used to cut carbon emissions, including insulation, heating systems, ventilation, white goods and control systems.
  • Companies will be invited to bid for contracts to retrofit example single houses, or a small number of houses where the retrofit can be delivered within the funding limits yet still achieve the deep cuts in carbon.
  • These are intended to cover the broadest range of low rise house types and geographic location possible.
  • Successful companies will have the opportunity to show the social housing sector what they can deliver and will be well placed to bid for future refurbishment contracts.
  • The competition is strictly for houses drawn from the social housing stock and excludes low rise apartment buildings, high rise dwellings, owner occupied dwellings and private landlords.
  • We recognise that other types of building and ownerships are important for meeting future CO2 targets but they are not eligible for funding within this Retrofit for the Future Competition.

In summary:

  • The competition is for low rise houses, drawn from the UK’s social housing stock.
  • A whole house, holistic approach will be required that seeks to achieve deep cuts in carbon through innovative approaches that offer the potential for cost effective scale-up and replicability.
  • A wide spread of house type and geographic location is required and the competition will likely fund single houses only.

However, there may be a case where retrofitting a small number of houses together is appropriate and where the retrofit can be delivered within the funding limits and still achieve the required deep cuts in carbon

  • The houses will be measured for performance, before, during and after the retrofit is complete.

Specific criteria and the measurement strategy are currently being developed.

  • The competition is open to all regions and Devolved Administrations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
  • The consortia will need to be led by a single company who will then be responsible for distributing funds to subcontractors.
  • The Technology Strategy Board have not identified the properties to be retrofitted, the properties will need to be identified by the company in collaboration with an RSL/Local Authority.



The competition is being run through the Technology Strategy Board’s SBRI initiative.

This is a mechanism for bringing novel solutions to government departments’ issues by engaging innovative companies that would not be reached in other ways.

  • It enables government departments and agencies to procure new technologies faster and with managed risk
  • It provides vital funding for a critical stage of technology development through demonstration and trial – especially for early-stage companies

It is run through an open and transparent competition which will result in direct contracts between successful companies and the Technology Strategy Board.

This competition offers 100% funding for each proposal.

Competitive bids will be judged on innovation and potential for impact as well as projected build cost.

The contracts will include costs for the feasibility/design phase, (Phase 1) as well as the build phase, (Phase 2) with

the intention that particularly effective, replicable and innovative solutions will be developed and trialled.

The contracts are designed to cover the costs of retrofit work that tackles the reduction of CO2 and energy use only.

Costs that would ordinarily be incurred as a result of standard refurbishment works such as bringing a house up to the Decent Homes standard are not covered.

Competition Launch

The Competition Launch period of the competition provides an opportunity to publicise the competition and for companies to come together and apply for Phase 1 Feasibility/Design funding.

For more details on the application process and guidelines on submitting a proposal, please refer to the More Information section at the end of this document.


Phase 1 Feasibility/Design

The Feasibility/Design phase is funded to a £20K maximum and is intended to generate a technical feasibility study.

The present economic climate is putting great pressure on the construction industry.

Phase 1 funding is provided to help companies prepare for the future retrofit market and de-risk the application process for the Phase 2 build stage.

The funding will cover specific technical work and may include:

  • Technical assessment of primary energy use and CO2 emissions using appropriate modelling software
  • Detailed design proposals
  • Planning report, Conservation Officer report or Building Control Officer report where appropriate
  • Air tightness measurement (by demonstration, all testing must be carried out in accordance with ATTMA Technical Standard 1 and CIBSE TM23)

The Technology Strategy Board will require SAP modelling during Phase 1.

  • To facilitate comparable data, the Technology Strategy Board will provide a set of technical and energy modelling guidance notes to successful applicants.
  • These will ensure that the assumptions entered into SAP by competition entrants are uniform, thereby removing discrepancies that might otherwise arise.
  • Although not mandatory, Feasibility/Design studies that also model their proposals in PHPP or similar, would be particularly welcome and would enhance Phase 1 work.
  • PHPP may facilitate the optimisation of energy and CO2 reductions at a more detailed level.
  • For instance, PHPP incorporates an explicit overheating target with external temperatures that can be modified and locations changed, thus allowing some analysis of future climate change resilience.
  • The results of the feasibility phase will be assessed by expert assessors and a number of the most innovative and effective projects in terms of ambition and cost-effective carbon and energy reduction with potential widespread applicability will be funded and taken forward to the Phase 2 Retrofit Build.


Phase 2 Retrofit Build

  • The Retrofit Build, Phase 2 contracts will fund the implementation of those proposals generated during Phase 1 Feasibility work into demonstrator low rise houses.
  • A maximum of £150K will be available in this phase for carbon reduction measures only and not standard refurbishment costs.
  • It is envisaged that during Phase 2, single houses, or small numbers of houses will be retrofitted with particularly effective, replicable and innovative technologies within the maximum £150K potential budget.
  • The monitoring and measurement of the retrofit demonstrators is crucial to the success of the competition.
  • This will be funded and managed by the Technology Strategy Board but will require the cooperation of the successful companies and social landlords in each case.
  • More details on this subject will be provided prior to Phase 2.



  • It is the responsibility of applicants to connect with suppliers and collaborators, this includes finding the house to retrofit.
  • To help facilitate this and to help housing providers connect with suppliers and vice-versa, there will be a number of ‘brokering’ events held in late April and early May to bring together RSLs/Local Authorities, contractors, designers, architects, suppliers etc.
  • These will be organised by the Modern Built Environment, Knowledge Transfer Network (MBE KTN) and registration is located at:

The draft timetable is as follows:

  • Scotland, 22nd April 2009 in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Construction Centre
  • East Midlands, 5th May 2009 in partnership with the Sustainable Construction i-NET
  • London, 7th May 2009 in partnership with BERR
  • Wales, 15th May 2009, in partnership with Welsh Assembly Government
  • Northern Ireland, 22nd May, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Housing


  • The SBRI scheme is intended to be attractive to small and medium size businesses.
  • The contracts are simple and a quick route to technology development and public procurement.
  • As previously stated, we are keen to see applications that enable small companies to participate within the supply chain and proposals that demonstrate this are particularly welcome.



  • Competition launch March 2009
  • Feasibility application forms available April 2009
  • KTN Brokering events April – May 2009
  • Consortia bid planning April – May 2009
  • Deadline for feasibility applications Noon, 24 June 2009

Phase 1

  • Feasibility/Design (funded – £20K max)
  • Assessment of feasibility applications July 2009
  • Notification of decision 15 July 2009
  • Feasibility Contracts awarded by 16 July 2009

Feasibility/Design stage work begins 3 August 2009

Feasibility/Design stage ends 23 October 2009


Phase 2

Retrofit Build Phase (funded – £150K max)

Assessment November 2009

Notification of decision 23 November 2009

Build Contracts awarded 26 November 2009



For more information on this and other competitions and details of how to register and apply, please see

Helpline: 01355 272155


The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the Government.

Its mission is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve the quality of life.

© GBE NGS ASWS Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan *
13th February 2017 – 27th July 2019

Retrofit For The Future Brief

RefurbishmentTSBRetrofitForAFuture PDF Show

© GBE NGS ASWS Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan *
13th February 2017 – 27th July 2019

Retrofit For The Future Brief
See Also: 

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  • CI/SfB: (A3r) Briefing

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  • PEC Peterborough Ecotrade Centre
  • PIC Peterborough Innovation Centre
  • Bat House Competition (Brief) G#15142
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  • Cambridge University Newnham College (Brief) G#15133
  • TSB Technology Strategy Board

GBE Courses

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GBE Projects

GBE Projects Information Case Studies

GBE Templates

  • Brief (Template) G#15131

© GBE NGS ASWS Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan *
13th February 2017 – 27th July 2019

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