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ReStart logoEnergy innovation in buildings: retrofitting for the future

12 June 2014 - University of Reading, The Meadow Suite

On June 12th, The University of Reading, Reading Borough Council and Thames Valley Energy joined forces to showcase energy efficiency in buildings and highlight opportunities for developing innovative solutions to retrofit. The event, which was sponsored through the EPSRC Retrofit 2050 programme of research at University of Reading and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), was targeted at SMEs, and featured presentations from organisations such as BRE, IPower, Heat Genius and The Green Register, as well as academics from the university and representatives of Reading Borough Council.

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The day, which was attended by more than 40 delegates, was a mixture of presentations, panel discussion and facilitated networking, and was part of the RE:Start Local programme which aims to help SMEs secure local business opportunities developing from renewable energy and low carbon building retrofit investments in South East England. Three main themes emerged from the day:

  • Behaviour: understanding how best to drive behavioural change is key to understanding how energy efficiency and retrofitting measures can have a real impact.
  • Business: the role of SMEs is critical in this sector but proving the business case for energy innovation and efficiency measures is fundamental to driving change.
  • Balance: ensuring we have a balanced and secure energy supply 'mix' and a balance in demand side efficiency measures is vital. We should not be 'scaling up failure'.

The presentations from the day are available at: http://www.reading.gov.uk/businesses/procurement/re-start-local-re-energising-business/

The RE:Start Local programme aims to help SMEs secure local business opportunities arising from the increasing number of renewable energy and low carbon building retrofit investments in South East England. RE:Start Local covers six key areas across the south east to deliver a free programme of activity for businesses through a range of partner organisations:

  • B&E Group
  • National Energy Foundation
  • Reading Borough Council
  • The Sustainable Building Partnership
  • TV Energy
  • Institute of Sustainability

These organisations will work with large buyers and investors in renewable energy and retrofit programmes to understand their requirements and the associated business opportunities available for local businesses.ReStart image2

Professor Tim Dixon, who co-chaired the event, said: "The School of Construction Management and Engineering here at the University of Reading is keen to support local business and to find ways in which the sharing of our expertise will have a real impact. The Sustainability in the Built Environment (SustBE) network provides a ready-made source of expertise for businesses seeking to connect with the University, and the EPSRC Retrofit 2050 research programme, in which the University is a key partner, was pleased to sponsor the event".

Tony Page, Reading Borough Council's Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: "Reading Borough Council is keen to support local small and medium sized businesses and to grow the green economy in Reading as part of our ongoing commitment to reducing our carbon emissions and being better prepared for climate change. SMEs attended this event and benefited from expertise from a wide range of contributors."

The EPSRC Retrofit 2050 project (www.retrofit2050.org.uk) aims to deliver a step change in current knowledge and capacity for urban sustainability by illuminating challenging but realistic social and technical pathways for the systemic retrofitting of UK city-regions. The Retrofit 2050 project brings together researchers from Cardiff, Reading, Salford, Durham, Oxford Brookes and Cambridge Universities.

This event is part of the Re:Start Local project and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. RE:Start Local aims to help SMEs secure local business opportunities arising from the increasing number of renewable energy and low carbon building retrofit investments in South East England. For more information visit http://www.instituteforsustainability.co.uk/restartlocal

For more information on other RE:Start events please visit www.tvenergy.org

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