Green homes finance accelerator bid gets green light

Generic pic of solar panel fitting from Bill Mead on Unsplash

Homeowners in Leeds will be able to benefit from a new one-stop-shop for finance and advice to enable building retrofit and improve energy efficiency.

Leeds City Council, Lloyds Banking Group and Arup have been successful in their Green Homes Finance Accelerator Bid, to test and develop financial products for homeowners which enables building retrofit and improve energy efficiency and comfort for residents.

The new funding, awarded through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) by The Department for Energy Security & Net Zero, will support the delivery of the council’s commitments in the Net Zero Homes Plan, which includes establishing a simple one-stop-shop with trusted advice and available finance as a key commitment.

Councillor Helen Hayden, executive member for infrastructure and climate, said: “Helping homeowners to access and afford energy-saving green upgrades for their own properties is a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to ending Leeds’ contribution to climate change. 

“That’s why developing innovative solutions which make that possible was a key commitment of the Net Zero Homes Plan that we announced earlier this year. I am therefore delighted that the council, in collaboration with our private sector partners, has now been awarded additional funding to turn even more of our ambitious plans into reality.”

Stephen Cook, urban energy leader and director from Arup, said: “We have worked closely with our partners to conduct in-depth user research which identifies what the priorities are for a project of this type. Retrofitting homes is critical at the moment as we tackle both climate change and the cost of living.

“By devising a solution that makes the process more straightforward, adaptable and cost-effective, it will help encourage more homeowners and tenants reap the multiple benefits of a more efficient home.”

Retrofitting homes – the process of making changes to existing buildings so that energy consumption and emissions are reduced – is a key solution in simultaneously tackling climate change and the cost-of-living crisis. Devising a solution that makes the process more straightforward and cost-effective will help homeowners and tenants reap the financial and environmental benefits of a more energy efficient home.

Leeds City Council, Lloyds Bank Group and Arup, along with several local West Yorkshire organisations, are collaborating to lead the way in how building and energy efficiency improvements and retrofit can be delivered to homes across Leeds. With their Green Home Finance Accelerator (GHFA) grant, the consortium is actively exploring how to make retrofit more straightforward and financially attractive to homeowners.

The project is initially looking to support around 1,000 households become more energy efficient and help residents save money through innovative, scalable and replicable energy efficiency, retrofit and finance products.

The purpose of this scheme is to create a prototype One-Stop Shop (OSS) solution that can be replicated and scaled to allow rapid adoption across the UK. The OSS aims to provide a seamless journey for customers to find the best solutions for their home, options for installation and provide finance.

Current challenges for homeowners include high cost, complexity and difficulty finding suppliers. To respond to these challenges, the consortium has identified a set of priorities including improving the customer process; offering a targeted range of retrofit options; and financial options to pay for retrofit solutions. GHFA funding will be used to design and test a potential Property Linked Finance offer and a smart tariff technology package as part of the wider OSS retrofit project.

The OSS concept aims to support customers on a whole house retrofit journey, tailored to the requirements of the property and the customer’s timescale and budget. This can be individual upgrades or whole packages.

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