Kinovo continues to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability with the appointment of Lorraine Clayton as Retrofit Lead at Purdy. An accredited Retrofit Assessor and qualified Co-ordinator herself, Lorraine has 17 years extensive stakeholder knowledge and experience in the energy efficiency and renewables sectors, focusing on Government related initiatives, and working with local authorities and housing associations on the successful delivery of retrofit programmes. Lorraine’s appointment will strengthen and support the organisation’s upward trajectory to becoming the UK’s leading social housing decarbonisation provider, based on its three pillars of Regulation, Regeneration and Renewables.  

Skin in the game 

Lorraine comments: “For Kinovo and our group of companies, Purdy, Dunhams and Spokemead, sustainability truly is at the heart of the services we offer clients and the social value community projects in which we’re involved demonstrates this.  Sustainability is also embodied in the way we do business ourselves. From a recruitment perspective, if you ever wanted to pin your flag to a fast growing, vibrant and ever-changing sector, then the decarbonisation of the country’s housing stock is a perfect choice whether you are new to the sector or have years of experience to offer.   

The retrofit challenge 

Some Retrofit targets are statutory, and they need to be. We can’t afford to politicise housing. Decarbonising the UK’s homes is one of the biggest engineering / building challenges we’ve ever seen.  So, regardless whether we see a change of government or policy, at Kinovo we will continue with our retrofit programmes and support our clients in driving forward making homes breathable, better insulated and heated, which goes some way to helping reduce fuel poverty whilst educating occupiers on the benefits of a healthy home. 

“Over the last two decades, we’ve seen mixed success in the large-scale delivery of energy efficiency attempts and I can recall several:  HIPs; CERT; CESP ECO 2,3, now 4; Green Deal; Green Homes Voucher Scheme; LAD schemes; HUG 1, 1b, now HUG 2, to name but a few.  

“The sector is full of acronyms and standards, and it’s not unusual for people I talk to, to see they are nervous / cautious about referring to what is current and what is in the past. I totally understand it’s not an easy ‘language’ to pick up.  We need to normalise this.  We do not want to put off new entrants to the industry with over complicated language.  With conflicting and mixed motivations and drivers in Asset Management teams, complicated or inadequate contract structures, increasing resident involvement, future legislative changes (PAS 2030 and PAS 2035) it can feel like a minefield. Each stakeholder plays a different part in this mix, and we are here to help at every stage. 

Reframing the narrative  

“One of my first main objectives is to get the message out to Housing Associations and landlords that it doesn’t have to be overly burdensome or complicated. Let’s take it one step at a time.  One of the key messages we aim to deliver to the occupier of the home we are retrofitting is to all speak in ‘One Voice’. The occupier experience during the retrofitting of their homes is of paramount importance to them, us and our client.  The occupier may see or hear from many organisations/companies during this process so we train our operatives that professionalism and behaviour around residents is key to the measure of success that will be reported on. This is often led by our Retrofit Liaison Officers, who are a key part of the service we offer, often representing the ‘glue’ that holds everything together.  

 “The recent scheme with Saffron Housing, one that I was proud to have been involved with on behalf of South Norfolk And Broadland Council, was to ensure financial accountability, project delivery and ongoing monitoring of 126 properties as part of the SHDF Wave 1 scheme.  Saffron adopted a considered approach to decarbonising housing stock, delivered by a great project team that were willing to embrace ‘lessons learned’, all of which made it noteworthy by the SHDF team. This project proves that it really can be as simple as saying what you are going to do, and then do it, report, refer, take guidance, and deliver. Only 12% of SHDF projects under Wave 1 achieved this level of success. Read more:  

Make it simple 

“We want to turn the current retrofit narrative into a straight forward language that Registered Housing Providers understand, at grassroots level as well as for senior decision makers. We want to partner with clients to break the whole process down into manageable actions with a two-pronged approach: strategic understanding of best practice in the retrofit process, and a huge communication plan to attract the additional 400,000 people we need to deliver the works. That’s why I intend to work closely with the Kinovo HR team and Contract Managers to support on upskilling, retraining, developing, and attracting new people. And I also want to work with organisations known to me that are already embedded in the retrofit landscape.    

“Sustainability in its purest form is also about society and creating healthy and safe places for people to live and work, in addition to the focus on green homes. For most of my career, I’ve been dedicated to government projects that have focussed on inequality in society one way or the other, be it government projects in the voluntary sector around families, loneliness, isolation, depression, money worries, safe spaces and getting back in to work and a purposeful life, all the way through to healthy breathable, energy efficient homes. The recent cost of living and energy crisis, where some will literally have to choose between ‘eat or heat’ this winter, is no exception, and we all need to step up and play our part in helping overcome this challenge. 

“It’s been interesting to note that for some landlords, the priority is to achieve an EPC C rating and that’s that. That’s all the funding they have. They’ve ticked a box, for now.   However, this does not go far enough. There are new technologies and innovations that will help the social and private landlords to increase the SAP points for very little cost. Our role is to help develop understanding about these solutions and how they can help shape a client’s decarbonisation journey, whilst delivering occupiers energy efficiency savings and comfort. 

“This is partnership approach is what sets Kinovo apart. We are specialists who really care about doing the best we can to achieve big societal benefits, by doing the right things and doing things right.  Working with us on our three pillars of Regulation, Regeneration and Renewables, we can drive forward sustainability with our clients right at the heart. 

One day we will all be green  

“I am grasping the opportunity to be involved with Kinovo with both hands. Their dynamic but thoughtful and well-invested approach to retrofit has really impressed me. I look forward to continuing to educate and align the right people in the right place so that we can deliver true sustainability for ourselves and our clients.  We all await the outcomes of the recently announced Energy Act 2023, part of the Kings Speech delivered on 7th November 2023.” 

John Lord, Purdy Managing Director adds: “We are delighted to have Lorraine on board as this directly adds deep and rich experience to our Renewables pillar. We will be working closely with Lorrainne and gaining from her technical expertise, knowledge and guidance to ensure we meet, and where we can exceed, our clients’ expectations. We’ve already invested in a new office and new Retrofit team to support Lorraine’s vision. In addition to her technical skills, Lorraine is a great advocate for social value through her previous work in the voluntary sector: a perfect fit for our business.”