The New Re:fit 4 Framework: Getting the Public Sector to Net-Zero

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The new Re:fit 4 energy performance contracting framework has just been launched. The Re:fit energy performance contract framework may offer your team a unique opportunity to make a step change in the operational and value for money performance of your entire asset base.

At Local Partnerships, Rachel Toresen-Owuor is responsible for the national Re:fit programme, outside of London.

Rachel Toresen-Owuor states “At Local Partnerships, we ensure authorities have the necessary skills and tools to set and manage carbon budgets and review projects; we provide expert advice on project identification and delivery, organisational governance and decision-making processes. We are committed to a decarbonised public sector and can support you through all stages of your journey to net zero.”

Public Authorities can use the Re:fit framework for the accelerated development and delivery of long-term capital programmes capable of delivering short-term and strategic benefits to minimise carbon footprints whist improving the performance of existing and newly-created assets.

At Local Partnerships, Tony Lawson focuses on the growth of the programme and the provision of client support.

Tony Lawson mentions that

Re:fit has been the framework of choice for the public sector seeking to deliver at pace and scale; if not already doing so, councils should consider using the Re:fit framework. The framework helps authorities develop and deliver key elements of their climate response activities. It helps improve the energy performance of assets and guarantees substantial performance improvements (including cost savings) and the reduction of carbon emissions.

This framework will give public sector organisations a tremendous opportunity to play their part in addressing the climate emergency and helping to meet European, national, local and organisational targets to reach net zero carbon emissions. These include:

  • the UK Climate Change Act 2008 target to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • emissions nationally to net zero by 2050; and
  • the Mayor of London’s ambition for London to be zero carbon by 2050.

The Framework is an integral part of Re:fit – the highly successful national programme originally developed by the Mayor of London and available for use nationally – and provides a critical means of improving the energy efficiency of public buildings and assets. By uniquely combining an Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) framework with full cycle expert advice and support to public sector organisations, Re:fit cuts costs, achieves substantial guaranteed energy savings and/or energy generation, reduces carbon emissions and ensures best practice within the EPC market.

Now in its tenth year, Re:fit has delivered:

  • Over £180 million of procured works
  • Support across more than 1000 buildings
  • In excess of 52,000 tonnes of CO2 saved, and
  • More than £10m of energy costs saved each year.

Given the severe and increasing financial constraints facing public sector organisations, and their consequent focus on driving down costs, there has never been a better time for them to increase the energy efficiency of their assets, particularly where cost savings are guaranteed.

This, the fourth Re:fit framework, has been procured and run by a partnership of the Greater London Authority and Local Partnerships. As well as demonstrating a wide-ranging commitment to drive further uptake, this partnership brings with it strong political and commercial expertise and substantial experience in enabling EPC projects. We expect up to £500m of contracts to be let during the four years it will be in place.

The rising impact and cost of carbon emissions, and increased public awareness about the climate emergency mean that more and more organisations are under additional pressure to reduce their emissions to net zero and generate clean energy. As such, reducing carbon emissions leads to direct financial, risk management and reputational benefit to public sector, third sector and commercial organisations alike.

At Local Partnerships, Nathan Wicks’ focus is the provision of client support.

Achieving net-zero emissions is the only way to limit devastating changes that will otherwise be wrought by the climate crisis. Authorities should consider adopting formal emissions budgets for each service area, with downward trajectories supported by tangible projects to meet a realistic zero-carbon date. Re:fit can develop and deliver programmes of such projects at pace and scale to achieve net-zero targets” states Wicks.

Since it was created, Re:fit has delivered a huge range of EPC projects to support the delivery of financial, energy and carbon savings across the public sector. The use of EPCs is growing in the UK with a number of public sector organisations having already successfully implemented projects and more planning to undertake them. EPCs have been delivered across a wide range of property types and different sectors including local authorities, the National Health Service, schools, further education, and universities.

EPCs can provide a strong business case and offer organisations a range of attractive benefits but can be complex and new to public sector organisations.

However, it is acknowledged that an EPC can cover many different requirements, buildings and phases and therefore it is important that these organisations know and understand the complexities of an EPC project to ensure they have a robust basis for:

  • commencing a project
  • getting approvals
  • communicating requirements to bidders
  • implementing a project
  • measuring and verifying the savings achieved

Support to organisations outside London is delivered by Local Partnerships. The team at Local Partnerships LLP would welcome the opportunity to meet with leadership team members in local and combined authorities across the country.

Local Partnerships is a public sector joint venture between the Local Government Association, HM Treasury and the Welsh Government. Their aim is to strengthen public sector client-side commercial capability and its Board ensures entire focus on their public sector mission. They provide trusted, professional support to councils, helping the public sector deliver projects and change at the local level. They facilitate an interface between central government policy and local delivery to ensure key priorities are achieved and clients secure excellent value for money. Their team of experts works solely for the benefit of the public sector. They help organisations transform the way they deliver services.

Led by Rachel Toresen-Owuor, Local Partnerships supports the Re:fit programme, and its core team includes Tony Lawson and Nathan Wicks:

Rachel Toresen-Owuor

At Local Partnerships, Rachel has overarching responsibility for the national Re:fit programme, delivering energy savings to the public sector via energy performance contracts.

Rachel has a decade’s direct experience working in local authorities experience, where she as led on energy management, procurement and strategy development. Experienced in project and contract management, Rachel has delivered multiple large-scale energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and an energy performance contract. Rachel can be contacted at rachel.toresen-owuor@local.gov.uk

Tony Lawson

Tony joined Local Partnerships in 2014 to provide commercial advice focused on Efficiency and Infrastructure programmes. Tony has worked in support of engagements across areas including Public Private Partnerships, Private Finance Initiatives, energy, infrastructure, waste, and health and social care for clients across central and local government departments and the wider public sector.

He has helped the development and delivery of infrastructure projects on behalf of both the private and public sectors in the UK and overseas. Tony can be contacted at tony.lawson@local.gov.uk

Nathan Wicks

Nathan joined Local Partnerships in March 2020 and is a Project Director for Re:fit and other climate response programmes. Nathan has over a decade of experience in delivering renewable energy and environmental infrastructure projects in the UK and abroad. Nathan’s experience in the renewables sector includes project and corporate financing, contracting, Power Purchase Agreements, M&A and construction.

Nathan is a qualified CIMA accountant and Chartered Project Professional. Nathan can be contacted at nathan.wicks@local.gov.uk

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