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Research and insights1 July 2013

FutureFit our retrofit research project

  • Affinity Sutton’s three-year FutureFit research programme, which began in 2010, looked at the impact of low-carbon refurbishments and energy advice.
  • The FutureFit research project has looked at the impact of retrofitting homes to make them low carbon, with 150 Affinity Sutton homes involved.
  • Results showed that retrofitting can have a real impact on household’s gas bills.

The UK is legally required to reduce its total carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, with an interim target of 34% by 2020.

More than a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions come from our homes. The vast majority of homes that will be standing in 2050 have already been built, and this means retrofitting (low carbon refurbishment to existing homes) will be needed on a large scale. What’s more, fuel bills are increasing year on year so the more we can do to improve the energy efficiency of our homes the better for affordability of the people living there.

FutureFit video

Watch our video on Sally and her family’s FutureFit home

In 2010, we started a three-year retrofit research project called FutureFit, which worked with 150 Affinity Sutton homes and residents delivering combinations of low carbon refurbishment works and energy lifestyle advice. These homes were all monitored so that we could understand what savings can actually be achieved for different levels of investment. The findings highlight pitfalls and benefits of retrofit.

On the one hand, it confirms the unpredictability of an individual household’s energy consumption and the challenge in tracking down how much energy anyone actually uses from one year to the next. But it also shows that retrofit does work and that taking a fabric first approach can have a real impact on a household’s gas bills. The results also start to support the use of lifestyle advice around reducing energy use in the home.

Developing informed policy

FutureFit has helped Affinity Sutton develop an informed, well-formulated policy on energy efficiency in existing homes, to reduce fuel poverty and inform the wider debate on carbon targets.

As a result of the project, we have developed an Energy Efficiency Standard which we are aiming for all our homes to reach by 2020, which should result in a 20% carbon reduction from 2013. The Standard is based on a suite of straightforward measures, like loft and wall insulation, rather than on specific targets. It will incorporate our energy lifestyle advice programme, EnergyFit, so that residents can live comfortably in their retrofitted homes and make the most of the savings.

FutureFit has also helped us to make an informed contribution to policy discussions about schemes such as the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation. Keep an eye on our press/Twitter feed/opinion pieces for more information.

Please note, the FutureFit research programme was conducted prior to Affinity Sutton merging with Circle Housing to create Clarion Housing Group.