Westminster City Council (WCC) have set a target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and for the whole city to follow suit by 2040, putting in place a range of initiatives to achieve this. One of the largest contributors to their decarbonisation is the RE:FIT project which is revolutionising the way they generate and consume energy across their estate by harnessing renewable technology such as solar PV and air source heat pumps.
Initially, Westminster City Council envisioned a £1m project in which Vital Energi would assess 20 buildings for energy conservation measures and then deliver the most effective decarbonisation measures. After securing £13m in Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) funding, Vital were presented with the challenge of delivering maximum decarbonisation within this budget. The scope of works was expanded to 70 buildings, of which 61 were chosen for improvements.
Despite the significant increase in size and complexity, the project still needed to be delivered within the same time frame to meet the PSDS funding requirements.
Vital initially delivered an investment grade proposal which involved surveying all buildings within the scope of works and then identifying the most effective carbon reduction measures. All work was delivered under an energy performance contract which guarantees carbon reduction and financial savings targets will be met.
The project proved to be a major undertaking, with 61 buildings eventually being chosen for 135 separate projects, which included:
Not only were the upgraded light fittings more efficient, they gave service users a better quality of lighting.
The buildings selected had a combined floor area of approximately 190,000 square feet and we compiled an Investment Grade Proposal in which we detailed the recommended measures for each of the buildings and demonstrated the carbon and financial savings that would be generated.
As these figures are underpinned by an energy performance contract, which guarantees minimum results across a range of KPIs, and the funding is administered by Salix, this procurement route offers organisations a low-risk opportunity to overhaul their energy infrastructure and achieve budget stability.
Whilst there was considerable scope for improvements, the project also presented some significant hurdles. Not least the fact that all the buildings were operational, with some being in use 24/7. This resulted in our delivery team working with staff and premises personnel to put together a programme which reduced disruption, whilst maintaining high levels of health and safety.
The works undertaken fit into three main categories; energy generation, energy distribution and energy conservation.