Retrofit programme for council homes

Programme background, assessment stage, what happens after assessment.

Background to the council’s retrofit programme

Haringey’s homes account for around half of the borough’s carbon footprint, which is why making them as energy efficient is so important. It is also the reason why we have committed to gradually ‘retrofitting’ around 15,000 council homes as part of our commitment to make Haringey ‘net zero’ by 2041. It is one of the key priorities set out in our climate change action plan in 2021.

Retrofitting is all about making homes better at retaining heat and reducing carbon emissions with better insulation, better windows as well as other features that provide more efficient heat and power.  

As well as being good for the environment these changes will benefit you too by helping to reduce your energy use – and potentially your bills – and making your home more comfortable and healthier to live in.

Delivery of the programme 

Our Retrofit for Haringey programme is being delivered as part of our planned maintenance programme. We will prioritise properties that have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of D or below for works – so we can benefit those in most need.

We are planning to pilot our programme at 150 properties and use what we learn to scale things up over coming years. We will work in stages and will be planning each stage 2 years ahead of works starting.

Check for progress on the Major Works search

Possible changes to properties

The sorts of features we will consider include:

  • insulating walls (cavity walls or external)
  • underfloor insulation
  • loft insulation 
  • replacing doors and windows (double glazing units) or improved draughtproofing
  • replacing gas boilers with low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps
  • installing solar panels

Not all measures will be installed in all homes – we will assess requirements and provide tailored options for each property. For example, one property may already have double glazing while another of the same size and build doesn’t. 

That’s why the assessment is a vital first step.

Assessment stage

If we can’t assess your home, we will not be able to carry out any energy efficiency improvements to it.

The assessment will review the condition of your property and its energy use so we can recommend the retrofit measures that will make the most difference. It involves: 

  • an occupancy assessment
  • an energy performance assessment
  • a condition assessment

If you have any concerns about this process, please contact the retrofit team.

Occupancy assessment

This determines how much energy your household is likely to use based on the number of people, how you use your home and the amount of time you spend there.

The surveyor will ask questions about all these things to ensure they factor your lifestyle into their recommendations.

If you have copies of fuel bills to hand this will help the retrofit assessor to ascertain a more accurate picture of your current energy consumption.

Energy performance assessment

An energy performance assessment establishes the current energy rating of your property and involves:

  • an appraisal of your home’s construction. This is because different materials have different insulating qualities – a solid brick wall will work differently to a cavity brick wall or timber frame. A detached house will lose more heat through its walls than a flat surrounded by other flats
  • measuring the area in each room, including ceiling height. This will help to identify the quantity – or volume – of air that needs to be heated (also known as the heat-loss envelope)
  • establishing how much heat is lost through the openings to your home – for example, single-glazed windows will lose more heat than double-glazed windows 
  • checking the current heating systems, lighting and ventilation and how these are controlled. This will establish if you have existing saving equipment and if any more can be added

During the energy assessment process, the retrofit assessor will need access to all rooms in the house including the loft to take photos and record measurements.    

Condition assessment of the property

The condition assessment comprises a visual inspection of your home’s condition. 

The retrofit assessor may use a tiny camera called a borescope or a moisture meter to help understand more about the construction of your home and thermal imaging equipment to help visualise heat loss (please note that this is only possible on cold days).

Expected length of the assessment  

The retrofit assessment should take around one to two hours.

If a resident has any concerns about this process, they can contact the retrofit team.

Repairs and other issues

Outstanding repairs will be recorded in the surveyors' documents. Rectifying existing repairs will be dependent on the type of works needed to remedy these and whether they are complementary to the retrofit process.

Some issues such as cracks, repointing, damp or leaks will all need to be fixed before the installation of insulation. Other issues identified as urgent will be dealt with through our repairs team.

Preparations for the survey

Please ensure that the retrofit assessor can have clear access to all rooms to take photos and measurements without obstruction. If you’re unable to help with access and remove obstructions for any reason, please speak to us about this at your earliest convenience. 

As part of our retrofit process, we would like you to participate in our home user survey:

Complete the home user retrofit survey

The survey will take 8-10 minutes to complete, and it will focus on how you use your home. The survey will be shared again with you after your retrofit, to measure improvements and monitor any changes.

If a member of your household is vulnerable, or if you need this information in another language, please let us know so that we can provide the appropriate support.

We will continue to update you at every stage of the process.

After the assessment

If your home is rated as EPC D or below by the assessment, we will prepare proposals for retrofit works to discuss and agree with you. 

During this process, we can estimate savings, in a similar way to an energy performance certificate, but taking account of how you use your home and the number of people you live with. 

We will then find a suitable contractor to deliver the works. 

We will support you at every stage of the delivery process and provide you with certificates and usage instructions, for any new equipment we’ve installed, once the work is completed.

We will also follow up with you to see how the improvements have affected your comfort and energy consumption. 

Changes to the appearance of properties

Some measures such as external wall insulation will alter the external appearance of your property by thickening the depth of the wall itself and having a render or brick slip finish. Some of the works such as replacement windows and doors will also be different from your existing ones. 

The image below shows an example of a property with external wall insulation. 

A block of flats with external wall insulation fitted.

The designs will be subject to conversations with Haringey Council’s planning department, to ensure that they are in keeping with your existing home.

Accommodation during the works

At the installation stage, whether you stay in your home or not will depend on the type of works taking place. Some works are external and shouldn’t affect you. Some internal works may require you to leave your home (or a specific room) for a short time. We will ensure you have plenty of notice and know how long the work will take. We will do our best to keep any disruption to a minimum but appreciate that construction work can be noisy. 

Potential damage during the works

Any damage caused by these construction works will be rectified during the snagging or defects and liability period. The retrofit assessments will serve as a record and we will verify any damages against this. The need for internal redecoration and reinstatement of garden decking, awnings or satellite dishes should all be recorded before works begin so we can ensure they are included in the delivery plan. 

Estimated time for the retrofit programme

This will vary in line with the proposal for each home. You will be given a timeframe for the works to be carried out at the design stage and we will keep you informed throughout the process.

Contact the retrofit team