Hertfordshire Low Carbon Innovation Networks

Low Carbon Challenge: District Level Regeneration

APPLY NOW for the opportunity to pitch your low carbon innovation to a panel of Developers and Council Regeneration Teams.

APPLY NOW for the opportunity to pitch your low carbon innovation to a panel of Developers and Council Regeneration Teams.

From low carbon construction materials to smart wayfinding solutions, our partners in the challenge are looking for innovations which will help them reduce carbon emissions on some of Hertfordshire’s biggest regeneration projects. This low carbon innovation challenge is open to SMEs with new ideas or proven solutions which will offer improved energy performance and/ or reduced emissions at district level.

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

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

Those SMEs whose solutions most closely match the needs of the districts will be invited to present their innovation to our district regeneration partners at a pitch and networking 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.


Regeneration projects are being planned, within Hertfordshire Borough Council areas, which will provide the opportunity to incorporate innovative products and services that will minimise the energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with the delivery and operation of the new developments.

BRE has brought together a group of Hertfordshire Councils and framework contractors including Three Rivers BC, Dacorum BC, Countryside Properties, Stevenage BC, and Watford BC. They are all currently involved in district level regeneration projects across the county and are actively looking for innovations which could be incorporated into their projects to improve energy efficiency and lower associated carbon emissions.

Our partners are looking for innovations in three main areas – digital systems, fabric solutions and energy systems - which could include (but are not restricted to) the following:-

Digital systems
  • Smart systems for buildings (including schools, leisure, local retailing, community and health facilities), infrastructure and employment space, to maximise utilisation and improve energy efficiency  
  • Digital solutions to allow effective and efficient management of new Council assets
  • Wayfinding solutions to enhance navigation and parking for commercial vehicles
  • Systems to optimise road deliveries to building sites during construction phase.

Fabric solutions

  • Offsite, modular build and MMC (Modern Methods of Construction) solutions
  • New building fabric insulation solutions
  • Replacement materials for bricks and concrete blocks
  • Innovative solutions for thermal upgrade of 1960s low rise commercial buildings.

Energy systems

  • Innovative electric vehicle charging systems
  • Interconnected energy generation and storage networks
  • Solutions to interconnect district heating systems.

The Opportunity

Eligible SMEs will be provided with 12 hours of free innovation support from BRE. Depending on the innovation, and its development stage, this might include:

  • Expert assessment of innovation performance
  • Market briefings directly relating to the innovation
  • Fit to supply sessions
  • Workshops on communicating innovation benefits
  • Understanding the client approach to investment risk.

Opportunity to pitch to potential buyers
Innovations will be scored for Market Applicability and Technical Viability. The highest scoring SMEs who have completed 12 hours of innovation support will be invited to pitch directly to the potential buyer organisations.

Further support

In addition, a number of SMEs will be eligible for further support, which might include:

  • advice on product development
  • access to industry leading research and development facilities to help develop, test and refine product and service solutions.
  • pilots and in-situ testing for those solutions with highest potential to meet demand requirements.

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:

  • Achieve a reduction in GHG emissions (compared to Business As Usual) whilst improving service delivery and customer experience
  • 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 low carbon 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: Monday 12th February 2018

Challenge closes:Thursday 8th March 2018

Innovation Support:Thursday 15th, Thursday 22nd and Monday 26th March 2018. (To be eligible to attend the Pitch and Networking event, SMEs much have attended two of the three support sessions).

Pitch event: TBC April 2018   

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