Hertfordshire Low Carbon Innovation Networks

Low Carbon Challenge: Commercial Property Retrofit

APPLY NOW for the opportunity to pitch your low carbon innovation to a panel of commercial property owners, including Bourne Leisure and Willmott Dixon.

APPLY NOW for the opportunity to pitch your low carbon innovation to a panel of Commercial property owners.

A group of major Hertfordshire-based companies, including Bourne Leisure and Willmott Dixon, are looking for SMEs with innovative products or services which will help them improve energy efficiency and/ or reduce carbon emissions within their operational buildings, whilst having a positive effect on staff productivity. Eligible SMEs applying to this challenge will receive 12 hours of free innovation support at BRE and may be selected to present their innovation to potential buyers at a Pitch & Meet-the-Buyer event.  

Opportunity Description:

This is a low carbon innovation challenge open to SMEs with solutions which will improve the energy efficiency of commercial property, be low or no disruption to install and require minimal input by occupants. We are particularly keen to hear from Herts based innovators.

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

Eligible SMEs applying to the call will receive 12 hours of free innovation support from BRE.

In addition, those innovators whose solutions most closely match the challenge criteria will be invited to present their innovation to potential buyers at a pitch event. All participating SMEs will also be given the opportunity to network with our client partners.


Large companies face many tough challenges, not least of which is improving the sustainability of their commercial property.

BRE has brought together a group of Hertfordshire based companies who are all actively looking for low disruption innovations for their existing commercial buildings in order to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions, whilst at the same time aiming to improve employee health, wellbeing and productivity.

 Desired innovative solutions include (but are not restricted to):

  • Improved HVAC systems
  • New metering and monitoring solutions
  • Improved thermal solutions for the building envelope
  • Heat recovery solutions
  • Improved building management solutions
  • Improved sensors and controls for energy systems and utilities
  • Energy generation and storage innovations
  • Enhanced indoor Thermal Comfort
  • Thermal improvements for swimming pool and bar/ entertainment areas 
  • Combined Heat & Power solutions
  • Healthy Materials
  • Recycled or refurbished materials, furnishings, furniture.

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. All participating SMEs will also be given the opportunity to network with our client partners.

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.

We welcome applications from new enterprises and businesses with close-to-market innovation.


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:

  • Be suitable for existing occupied buildings
  • Be low-disruption
  • 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: Wednesday 16th May 2018

Challenge closes: Wednesday  27th June 2018

Innovation Support:Thursday  21st, Thursday 28th  March and Tuesday 3rd July 2018  plus  a further date TBC. (To be eligible to attend the Meet-the-buyer event, SMEs must have attended two of the three support sessions).

Pitch event: TBC July 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