Let Zero project announced to support private rented sector

Energy storage solutions for social housing

A South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) net zero project known as Let Zero has been awarded £2.4m in funding from Innovate UK.

Let Zero supports tenants in the private rented sector by working with landlords to improve decision making on renovations and improvements in their properties, especially those housing the vulnerable.

SYMCA was awarded the funding after a competitive process where the authority was invited to take part in Innovate UK’s Net Zero Heat Innovation Lab. After the process just three projects were awarded funding, including SYMCA’s.

The 18-month Let Zero project will develop an end-to-end solution, powered by AI to give landlords a ‘trusted path’ for upgrading their properties, tailored to the needs of the occupants.

The pilot research project will initially involve 200 homes in South Yorkshire but the solution has the potential to be scalable across the UK.

Dr Ceri Batchelder, South Yorkshire Retrofit Development Programme Lead at SYMCA, said:

I’m delighted that the Let Zero pilot project has received funding from Innovate UK. It will improve conditions for private sector renters by supporting landlords to upgrade their properties through a retrofit and funding advice service.

Working closely with our local authority partners, the team will reach out to landlords and showcase a range of options for housing improvements.

Our intent is to create warmer, healthier and more cost-effective homes and to establish a precedent for decarbonisation in the private rented sector.

The Let Zero pilot project involves 12 partners and will run from 1 April 2024 until 30 September 2025.

Other partners include BRE, the Centre for Energy Equality, Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, charity Pure Leapfrog and a number of innovative companies: Sustenic, Wrapt Homes, Planarific, Trust Electric Heating, ICAX and VundaHaus.

Mike Pitts, Deputy Challenge Director, Innovate UK said:

Innovate UK’s Net Zero Heat programme seeks to overcome barriers to innovation to enable the UK to prosper from moving quickly away from gas for heat in buildings.

The three projects announced today are the biggest investment to date from the programme. We’re really pleased that such promising ideas were developed through an intensive five-day workshop specifically designed to generate these kinds of high-potential projects.

The participants are involved from all stages across the process of Net Zero Heat renovations of buildings, and they all seek to improve the process for different types of building  with the aim of bringing down cost and speeding up retrofit work.

To find out more about housing retrofit, visit InstallerSHOW’s Housing Hub – running 25-27 June at the NEC.