Supporting the Home Energy Upgrade Sector Through Maximising Data Potential
With the launch in February of the National Home Energy Upgrade scheme, we saw a very welcome pickup in momentum from the government with the commitment to sizable funding to back the target of 500,000 home energy upgrades to a B2 rating by 2030. We need to make this target happen from a climate, energy security, energy efficiency, cost reduction, and a social and health perspective. How do we make this happen? How can we ramp up the number of homes being upgraded annually? And how can we do this in the most efficient and cost-effective way? While skills, materials, and householder engagement are of course central to the success of these plans, so too is the way we use data! How we interpret data, how we consolidate it to maximise its value, and how we use it to support enhanced decision making, scaled solutions, and optimised outcomes for householders is a fundamental game changer and can significantly accelerate national efforts! At RetroKit we’re identifying and developing the solutions, disrupting the old ways, and maximising our clients time and resources. We’re committed to Ireland’s transition to a better energy future, and through unlocking the opportunity of data and digitisation, we’re catalysing the best possible outcomes that work for people, planet, and performance.
While housing built in the last decade is far more efficient than those built in the previous decades, Ireland still has a considerable task ahead to consolidate, assess, and deploy the optimal, most energy-efficient, and cost-effective energy upgrade solutions at scale. Recognising the challenges leads us to develop the solutions! And at RetroKit, this focused our minds on how we can support those engaged in home energy upgrades to scale solutions and zero in on the opportunity. Identifying the diversity, inconsistencies, and separated nature of Irish data available, RetroKit’s multidisciplinary team designed a user-friendly cloud-based database solution to work with and support decision making. Through maximising the potential of the data using powerful data analytics, we’re supporting project teams to move from planning to action in a much shorter timeframe. What once was a hugely labour-intensive manual task, frequently prone to error due to the variety of systems and data sources and for which project teams had to dedicate significant time and resources, our RetroKit software is making planning renovation projects much easier and quicker, freeing up project teams to get on with the doing.
Combining BER data, GIS, and data analytics, RetroKit’s software solution uses actual energy datasets and advanced analytics to develop a highly detailed analysis of retrofitting measures that have the highest potential, are evidence-based, and which can robustly inform the development of a home energy upgrade strategy at scale. The advanced data analytics software can prioritise based on the specific project parameters such as BER grade, CO2 emissions, energy costs, location, and a range of other characteristics. Most recently used by Cork City Council to identify and prioritise retrofitting measures for over a hundred social housing properties in Cork City, the RetroKit software was the key tool supporting the project team in optimising budgetary inputs while supporting better energy and health outcomes for residents.
The SEAI’s One Stop Shop (OSS) service providers will have a significant role to play in meeting our 2030 target. And RetroKit can support providers to reach their targets. Aligned with the NHEU scheme, RetroKit supports productivity, reduces compliance-related administration e.g., with grant schemes and reduces planning costs significantly in terms of staff time and consultants’ costs. Ensuring compatibility with project parameters, the software also incorporates an energy conservation measures database with unit cost. This database is fully customisable to reflect pricing and other parameters of the OSS. Measures can be combined in any number of retrofit scenarios across any number of dwellings. RetroKit has integrated the SEAI Trusted Partner API into its platform, allowing its users to access BER data on behalf of homeowners with a few clicks. This data then flows seamlessly into the process of generating home energy upgrade proposals. Supporting now and in the future, RetroKit will play an important role in helping OSS consolidating their IT solutions, to enable the upscaling of their operations.
There’s no doubt that the NHEU scheme was a timely boost from government, bringing certainty to providers, and offering practical steps to benefit households. And while it’s become apparent that even though climate change is growing concern for more and more people, it is the potential savings and affordability that drives action at the scale needed! As energy bills rise, we’re seeing the increasing pressure on households to manage heating bills and the worry caused by anticipating future price rises. Being able to demonstrate to householders the most effective and cost-efficient solutions based on a detailed analysis can significantly support householders to engage and progress with home energy upgrade applications, and to avail of the government grant support which is already proving very popular. RetroKit presents the most suitable and cost-effective solutions to householders for their homes using a range of reporting options, supporting decision making with clear and concise information. From start to finish, our innovative software will support you to be a market leader, to expand and grow your operations and to meet demand for the NHEU scheme.
Susan O’Flaherty, 10.03.2023