First launched in 2008, RE:FIT is the Mayor of London’s award-winning scheme to provide a commercial model for public bodies wishing to achieve substantial financial cost savings, improve the energy performance of their buildings and reduce their CO2 footprint. Honoured by ManagEnergy in the 2011 Local Energy Action Award, the scheme has now been rolled out nationwide to public sector organisations across the UK.
The scheme uses an Energy Service Company (ESCo) to implement energy efficiency measures – in this case, retrofitting public buildings and enabling organisations to cut running costs, energy consumption and carbon emissions. The ESCo guarantees the level of energy savings, thus offering a secure financial saving over the period of the agreement.
In November 2012, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced it would fund a nationwide rollout of RE:FIT, enlarging the scope of Boris Johnson's programme to improve energy efficiency in the public sector. The RE:FIT Framework streamlines the procurement process for energy services by providing pre-negotiated, EU-regulation-compliant contracts that can be used with a group of 13 pre-qualified ESCos.
The programme was revised earlier this month to incorporate the lessons learned from the work carried out so far. The changes include making the scheme more flexible and simpler, as well as extending the range of funding options available. These range from allowing fully financed projects which do not require upfront investment from the authority, to potential benefits from a tax and accounting treatment of any investment, such as off balance sheet investment. Simpler tendering processes through a pre-agreed model will also make smaller projects (costing less that £1m) much more viable.