Mass retrofitting – Hackbridge

Location: Sutton Borough, Greater London, UK

Population:  8,899,375 [Greater London]

Climate: Oceanic

Duration: 2005 – 2025

Sector: Cross-cutting

Funding sources: Public-private

City networks: C40

Savings: Energy consumption reduced by 56 %.

Solutions: Mass retrofitting plan for several houses across the neighbourhood to reduce carbon emissions. The total area that is supposed to be affected by the project accounts for 19 hectares.

Multiple benefits: CO2 emissions and energy consumption reduction.

Hackbridge is a suburb located in the London Borough of Sutton, in the south-west part of the city. The area accounts for a population of approximately 8,000 people living in houses dating from the Victorian period as well as more recent times.

In 2005, the Sutton Council decided to turn Hackbridge in a pilot area for creating the first zero-carbon sustainable suburb in the UK by 2025.

Objective – Create the first zero-carbon sustainable suburb in the UK by 2025.

Solutions – An integrated solution combining environmentally friendly buildings with sustainable urban mobility and ICT infrastructure. The environmental aspects of the solution are mostly related to the mass retrofitting plan of several houses in the district, which aims at reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions. In order to provide a higher quality of life in the area, ICT tools have also been deployed in buildings, along with the introduction of E-government, E-health and E-learning services in the district. Moreover, the plan includes the development of pedestrian and cycling routes of high standards and the improvement of the public transport system.

Funding – € 37.816 Mln*, financed by public and private funds. The bodies involved include the Greater London Authority Growth Fund and the European Union with “life + funding.” Partnership agreements should mainly involve energy companies.

 Innovation – Hackbridge is expected to be the UK’s first fully sustainable suburb by 2025.

Moreover, during the planning process, citizens in the area are deeply involved. For instance, a group of local residents was included in the production of a first draft of the Neighbourhood Plan for Hackbridge. In addition, a public consultation concerning the Hackbridge Masterplan was carried out since the beginning of the project, with documents and copies of the plan distributed among residents. The whole community of Sutton appears to be largely in favour of the project (90% of the participants) to make Hackbridge the UK’s first greenest suburb.

Success factors – In order to tackle the project from different angles, an efficient synergy of integrated solutions worked together. New and more efficient transport infrastructure is planned, with priority being given to cycling and pedestrian routes as well as to the public transportation system. More ICT complementary solutions ranging from intelligent building to Ehealth will be included as well.

Significant outcomes:

  • 56% reduction in energy consumption compared to 1990 levels
  • 2% less CO2 emissions compared to 1990 levels

Synergies with local policies:

  • London Environment Strategy 2018 sets out the Major´s objectives, policies and proposals for protecting and improving London´s environment. Among the main goals is to make London a zero-carbon city by 2050, with energy-efficient buildings, clean transport and clean energy, as well as the transition towards a low carbon circular economy.
  • Zero carbon London 2018 establishes a goal for London to be a zero-carbon city by 2050. One of the main objectives aims to increase the number of buildings retrofitted with energy efficiency measures, a continued grid decarbonisation and the increasing use of smart technology.
  • The Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy is a strategic framework for enhancing the quality of life in London and protecting the environment. Four goals have been set for this strategy: To reduce London´s CO2 emissions to mitigate climate change; to maximise economic opportunities from the transition to a low carbon capital; to ensure a secure and reliable energy supply for London.


Political alignment:

  • UK National Energy Efficiency Action Plan and Building Renovation Strategy 2014 sets a target of an 18% reduction in final energy consumption by 2020, relative to the 2007 business-as-usual projection, and reflects the UK’s ambitious energy efficiency policy package.
  • Clean Growth Strategy sets out a comprehensive set of policies and proposals that aim to accelerate the pace of ‘clean growth’, delivering increased economic growth and decreased emissions while ensuring affordable energy supply for businesses and consumers.
  • UK Climate Change Act 2008sets a target of 80% GHG emission reduction by 2050 (1990 baseline).

Marketability: The solution does not include any specific place limitations. It can be applied to similar urban context characterized by old and energy inefficient buildings, which are typical of many cities across the European continent. An example is represented by the Järva project realised in Stockholm. Similarly to London’s Hackbridge initiative, the project realised in Sweden targeted the mass retrofitting of some buildings in the Järva area along with the creation of cycling and pedestrian paths.

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Sector: Cross cutting

Country / Region: United Kingdom

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In 1 user collection: Good practices of cities

Knowledge Object: User generated Initiative

Published by: Sutton Borough Council