Hertfordshire Low Carbon Innovation Networks

Social housing low carbon challenge

APPLY NOW for the opportunity to pitch to social housing landlords with a combined stock of nearly 150,000 homes.

APPLY NOW for the opportunity to pitch to social housing landlords with a combined stock of nearly 150,000 homes.

This low carbon innovation challenge is open to SMEs with ideas or proven solutions which will improve the energy efficiency of social housing.

Eligible SMEs applying to the call will receive 12 hours of free innovation support from BRE including sessions on:

  • Building performance standards
  • Client requirements for investing in innovation
  • Presenting and pitching innovation. 

Those SMEs whose solutions most closely match the needs of the social housing landlords will be invited to present their innovation to our social landlord partners at a pitch event.  All participating SMEs will also be given the opportunity to network with our client partners.

The challenge is part of the Hertfordshire Low Carbon Innovation Network project, run by BRE in partnership with the Green Triangle and Synoptica, and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. 


Social housing landlords currently face many tough challenges, not least of which is improving the energy efficiency of their housing stock. Such improvements can lead to reduced levels of fuel poverty, benefits for resident comfort and health and a reduction in the level of CO2 emissions associated with domestic energy consumption.

BRE has brought together a group of Hertfordshire councils and social housing providers, including Dacorum Borough Council, St Albans City and District Council, Clarion Housing Group and Octavia Housing, who together have around 150,000 properties on their books. They are all actively looking for low disruption innovations which could be incorporated into existing housing stock, or new build homes, to improve energy efficiency and lower associated carbon emissions.

Solutions could include (but are not restricted to):

  • Low disruption insulation solutions for solid concrete floors in houses and flats, to reduce cold and condensation
  • Insulated, draught-proof loft hatch solutions
  • Solutions for failed cavity wall insulation, which allow the wall and insulation to dry out and prevent further damp penetration
  • Thin, high performance, affordable external wall insulation (EWI)
  • Heating controls which convey information about comfort and cost in a user-friendly, intuitive way and encourage energy efficiency behaviour change by residents
  • Retrofit ventilation with heat recovery solutions for properties with mould and condensation issues following thermal upgrades.
  • PV and thermal energy storage solutions
  • Alternative radiator designs which offer better performance than conventional models.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible, the applicant organisation must:

  • Be an SME (fewer than 250 staff and an annual turnover not exceeding 50 million euros or an annual balance sheet of not more than 43 million euros)
  • Be eligible for State Aid support (see FAQs)
  • Meet the requirements of the challenge
  • Have their registered head office in England.

If more SMEs apply than there are support places available, those who score highest for Market Applicability and Technical Viability will be selected.

New enterprises and businesses with close-to-market innovation are welcome to apply.


Solutions may be technical, service or a mix of the two. They should be market ready or close to market and meet most, or all, of the criteria listed below:

  • Aim to improve energy efficiency whilst improving resident experience
  • Be suitable for occupied existing homes or new build
  • Be compatible with existing systems
  • Do not require financial incentives to be commercially viable
  • Are low, or no, maintenance.  

The Herts LCIN project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The project is receiving up to £630,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

About the LCIN partners

BRE is a world leading building science centre that generates new knowledge through research. This is used to create products, tools and standards that drive positive change across the built environment. BRE helps its government and private sector clients meet the significant environmental, social and economic challenges they faces in delivering homes, buildings and communities. BRE is owned by the BRE Trust, a registered charity. The Trust uses the profits made by the BRE companies to fund research and education that advances knowledge of the built environment. www.bregroup.com

The Green Triangle aims to establish Hertfordshire as a globally renowned centre of excellence in green technology. The Green Triangle is a partnership organisation based around three world leading research institutes, BRE, Rothamsted Research and The University of Hertfordshire, with the support of St Albans City and District Council and Oaklands College. It is focused and committed on supporting the growth and acceleration of green industries, with a key focus on developing SME capacity in this space.

Eligible companies should register their energy saving innovations via the Synoptic registration portal. Their details will be held on a green technologies database and can be made available to other client organisations looking for low carbon and energy efficient solutions, as well as being signposted to other potential sources of support.  

Challenge opens: Thursday 28th September 2017

Challenge closes: Friday 3rd November 2017

Innovation Support: dates include Thursday 9th and Thursday 23rd November 2017

Pitch event: Thursday 7th December   

NOTE: Details of your submission may be shared with project partners and with third parties for the purpose of the competition and other brokerage opportunities with innovation buyers. This information will be held by BRE and Synoptica, who may contact you in the future regarding other innovation activity.

Submissions should only contain information which you are willing to share with third parties and should not include proprietary information.

Contact Us:

Jackie Sharp, Sustainability Consultant


01923 665249