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Retrofit start-up wins business on back of energy efficiency ‘aftercare’

Energy efficiency news – by Louise Bateman
22nd February 2012
A start-up specialising in non-domestic energy efficiency refits has won its first contract where the client will be shown how to get the best out of the building on an ongoing basis.
Sustainable Retrofits
has been hired by Brighton Media Centre to undertake an energy assessment and to design and implement retrofit solutions at the facilities company that provides offices suites, desk space and virtual office services. But in the first 'full-service’ contract won by the start-up, Sustainable Retrofit will also be providing ongoing advice and support to ensure the building’s energy efficiency specification is achieved after handover.

"'Continued Support' starts at the design stage and is integrated throughout the retrofit implementation in order that the client’s facilities management team hit the ground running at handover," said Steph Marshall, founder of Sustainable Retrofit. "The aim of this is to ensure that energy efficiencies do not drop through staff churn, lack of technical understanding and to work with the client and the buildings as their needs and business evolve."

'Continued support’, also known as 'soft landing’, is offered by a growing number of building engineering companies in new builds, but it is still in its infancy in the retrofit market. Marshall, who worked at construction company Mace before setting up his new company, is looking to steal a march upon his competitors in the emerging retrofit market by offering the service in non-domestic retrofits. 

He said he was offering clients a mixture of remote monitoring and "handholding" as part of his 'continued support’ service.

"Through the remote monitoring, I can spot an anomaly before it becomes a major cost to the client," he explained. "Every three, six and 12 months I will also visit the client and provide them with an energy review or a post occupancy review. It enables me to work with the client so that they will get the best out of their system. 

"It’s very different from the traditional construction environment, where you hand over the key and off you jog. It shows my commitment to the client."

Retrofit market
The UK building retrofit market is expected to mushroom into a £200 to £500 billion industry over the next 40 years, according to the Institute for Sustainability, as the UK Government embarks on a massive programme to insulate the country’s existing building stock.

One of the first companies to provide ongoing energy efficiency support in the non-domestic retrofit market is the Low Carbon Workplace Trust. The company is behind the green refit at The Billings in Guilford, which officially opened earlier this month. The 160-year-old former printing press has been transformed into an energy efficient office space for up to 200 occupiers with a carbon footprint 60 per cent lower than the industry standard. As part of the refit, occupiers will also receive ongoing advice and support to ensure the building’s energy efficiency specification is achieved in-use. 

Marshall said Sustainable Retrofits has been working with a number of other clients, include a recruitment agency and a large commercial property management company providing energy audits and other services, but Brighton Media Centre had been the first to take the company’s 'full-service’ offering.

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Retrofit start-up wins business on back of energy efficiency ‘aftercare’
Sustainable Retrofits is offering 'continued support' from the design stage right through to occupancy
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