The Optimised Retrofit project will see more than 1,724 homes across Wales made more energy-efficient.
The process of retrofitting these pathway homes will enable the trial and refinement of the digital tools required to enable the decarbonisation of homes across Wales, as well as help build the skills and training needed to underpin this.
The collaboration of 68 partners, including 26 social housing providers, has been awarded more than £13m in funding by Welsh Government through the Optimised Retrofit Programme that was introduced this year as part of the Innovative Housing Programme.
What does Optimised Retrofit mean?
Optimised Retrofit is the retrofit of an existing home which provides effective, practical pathways to take that home to its lowest achievable carbon footprint.
This is achieved through a combination of building fabric improvements, low and zero-carbon technologies (such as solar panels, battery storage and heat pumps), and intelligent ongoing operational controls.
The approach, referred to as Pathways to Zero, is designed to support incremental home upgrades over multiple steps, in a coordinated way. The scheme enables delivery of a more comprehensive level of genuine zero carbon, typically for less cost, by supporting and aligning with the decarbonisation of the energy grids that continues to take place in to the coming decades.
Optimised Retrofit supports each unique home to be assessed in significant detail through the digital Whole Home Survey, with the Pathways to Zero digital tool then processing this information to identify and map out all technical viable measures considered in all appropriate sequences.
The property owner, for the Pathfinders therefore the Registered Social Landlord, can then select their preferred measures, steps and sequencing based on the technically viable options.
Accepting the paramount importance of the residents, these measures include how to deliver the ongoing real performance of the home, taking into account the day-to-day activities and needs of its residents, to achieve comfort without complexity.
Project aims and outcomes
The primary objective of Optimised Retrofit is to leave a legacy to help decarbonise homes in Wales and beyond. The project partners between them currently manage more than half of the social homes in Wales (around 123,000 of the total 237,000), and all RSLs in Wales will have access to the processes, training, frameworks and tools that are built as part of Optimised Retrofit.
A sustainable business model will be developed that sets out the costs of operating the core digital tools, framework, and relevant foundational economy elements, as well as ongoing dissemination and development activities.
Optimised Retrofit is the means of delivering a clear mechanism to take meaningful, coordinated steps to decarbonise homes, using a structured, technically robust methodology, whilst remaining as affordable and pragmatic as possible.