Mayor declares London is ‘retrofit ready’ and ripe for investment to make millions of buildings energy efficiency

Published on Wednesday, 22 June 2011 12:53
Posted by Scott Buckler

The Mayor Boris Johnson has set out the massive economic opportunities arising from his major drive to make London’s buildings energy efficient on an unprecedented scale. This is set to create jobs and enterprises in a low carbon economy, as well as improve quality of life and save millions off fuel bills (June 22nd)

The Mayor has called on the third sector to step up investment into a range of innovative City Hall-designed programmes, kick-started using public funds to cut carbon and ensure buildings are more energy efficient. Already 9,000 London homes have been retrofitted with energy saving measures under the Mayor's RE:NEW programme , each saving up to £154 a year off fuel bills and from next month, 50,000 more are set to be offered the service by May 2012. The Mayor's public sector building programme, RE:FIT, is now open to all public buildings having been trialled on 42 fire stations, police stations and Transport for London buildings, and it has recently received funding that could help organisations retrofit up to 600 buildings in London with energy efficiency measures. As these programmes expand to embrace more of the capital's vast building stock, they present a significant investment opportunity for business.

The estimated economic value for London by 2025 coming from low carbon goods and services equates to £40 billion of investment into the capital, which could create 200,000 jobs. As London’s buildings account for nearly 80 per cent of carbon emissions, the biggest low carbon economic opportunity for businesses stems from activity to make them energy efficient. Building retrofitting (fitting older buildings with energy efficiency devices) accounts for 41 per cent of the overall investment the city requires to achieve the Mayor’s 60 per cent carbon cut by 2025. Investment in retrofitting could deliver up to 80 per cent of the 14,000 low carbon jobs that could be created per year and two thirds of the £721 million of low carbon economic activity per year up until 2025.

The Mayor also announced that he will establish of a low carbon prize aimed at London's higher education institutions. Set to launch in the coming academic year, the Mayor’s office is seeking high profile sponsors to support a cash prize of at least £20,000 to be made available for a winning student to contribute towards develop the most promising idea for reducing energy use in buildings. The Mayor also pledged to champion the winning idea. Further details of the prize will be announced this summer.

The Mayor, said: ‘Just as London’s innovative approach secured its prosperity during the industrial age, so I want us now to grasp the massive economic opportunities coming from becoming a lean, green, energy-efficient city.

‘Reducing energy use in the capital’s buildings represents the single biggest low carbon investment opportunity for London. In the face of rising energy costs, this is also great news for Londoners and organisations in terms of savings off fuel bills. We now have in place a raft of top notch programmes primed and ready with the clout to retrofit London at the scale required and I urge the private sector to seize this profitable opportunity to work with us.’

The Mayor’s low carbon schemes have already attracted funding from a range of sources (for example, the private sector, the London Green Fund and other European programmes), meaning investment for climate change and environment programmes is at record levels with the prospect of more to come from these external sources. The emphasis on creating commercially viable, and therefore effective, programmes means less reliance on public funds and that a total pot of £116.5m is being spent on or in place for carbon reduction projects. Of this amount £16.5million is now confirmed as coming from the London Development Agency over the next financial year - this includes the LDA's allocation of money coming from the European Regional Development Fund and money committed from the European Commission.

Source: London Mayor

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