Retrometer – SIF project

RetroMeter was a project with a consortium of partners including Carbon Co-op, Energy Systems Catapult, Electricity North West, ep Group and Manchester City Council. To date the consortium have taken the project through two phases of the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), a programme from the UK’s independent energy regulator Ofgem and and managed in partnership with Innovate UK. SIF projects are funded is funded by energy network users and consumers. This project addresses SIF Round 2, challenge 4: Accelerating Decarbonisation of Major Energy Demands: Improving energy efficiency at all levels in the system. The Alpha Phase (October 2023 to March 2024) followed on from the Discovery Phase that ran through the first half of 2023.

RetroMeter is developing a standardised approach to metering energy savings from domestic retrofit projects. RetroMeter aims to create an advanced monitoring and verification (M&V) system for UK retrofit, so that householders and housing providers can measure the success of energy efficiency works and quantify the actual savings achieved. 

Energy efficiency is considerably more attractive for consumers with home retrofit measures providing health and comfort benefits in addition to reductions in volatile energy bills. Historically, however, high capex has hampered consumer investment in residential retrofit, leaving them reliant on limited subsidy programmes or supplier obligations seen as a regulatory requirement rather than a business incentive.

Established ‘pay-for-performance’ (P4P) schemes in the US offer a compelling solution. In using advanced M&V techniques to accurately baseline energy usage, aggregators sell pooled savings from retrofitted homes to long-term finance providers in return for upfront investment in the cost of retrofit. This spreads the consumer’s costs, enabling them to experience the multiple benefits of energy efficiency upfront; meanwhile the finance provider generates returns through savings. This approach – Metered Energy Savings (MES) – could unlock massive investment in UK retrofit and has been subject to considerable sector attention.

During the Alpha Phase we focused on further developing the methodology for measuring energy savings, putting plans in place for pilot projects and further assessing the potential of business models underpinned by metered energy savings. Carbon Co-op’s work focused on how we would pilot the methodology in real world retrofit scheme delivery, including householder engagement and data access. As retrofit delivery happens in a range of settings and scales, we were keen to explore how the methodology could be approached in very different models. During Alpha Phase this included looking at our Area Based Schemes (e.g. in Levenshulme), and Manchester City Council’s boiler replacement programme under the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF). We also co-ordinated work looking at stakeholder and policy engagement. 

Project outputs

The detailed outputs from the project are publicly available via the Energy Networks Association Innovation Portal:

A series of briefing notes, tailored for different audiences, are also available via Electricity North West’s website. These cover: Households, Retrofit Providers, Policy Makers, Energy Suppliers, District Network Operators and Investors.

Next steps

After the formal end of the Alpha Phase we’re exploring ways to take this work forward. In the meantime, we’re very interested to hear from any Housing Providers or Retrofit Providers who may be interested in testing the methodology on a group of homes where retrofit works are planned or complete.

Please get in touch with our Energy Systems lead Matt Fawcett (matt@carbon.coop), or our Research and Evaluation lead Helen Grimshaw (helen@carbon.coop) if you’d like to find out more.

 

Further reading

If you’d like to read more we have a set of shorter blog posts linked to this project: