SmartKlub Leeds Tower Blocks 2

This are the notes and write up of the SmartKlub Co-creation Event held on 24th February 2016 at ODI Leeds.  Towerblocks II

 It’s objectives were:

  • Provide early market engagement for Housing Leeds to inform the delivery programme for their Towerblocks project,
  • Open up the current thinking to discussion and share lessons learned.
  • Inform the supply chain how the project is developing, provide an opportunity to contribute and signpost key milestones in the project implementation phase.

The link to the Event is here, which describes the background to the event & is summarised below-

2016-02-24 12.36.19

Event Slides

The slides presented are available on these links

Here are the slides showing the LCC District Heating Route

Here are the LCC & Housing Leeds slides giving the background, lessons learned & overall objectives.

Here  are are slides explaining the background and key findings of the Arup Feasibility & Business Case for Towerblock Clusters

The details of the workshop are detailed below on the Agenda for the session.


SmartKlub Leeds commenced its work in April 2015 with a kick off and introduction workshop on 22nd April. it builds on the work of the Leeds Energy Forum which included a number of widely attended group workshops and smaller focus groups.

In simple terms SmartKlub Leeds has been established to work to turn the collective intelligence from the Leeds Energy Forum and the work of SmartKlub Leeds into a project pipeline of energy projects for the City.


In simple terms can we shape, together, the short medium & long term opportunities for the city which:

  •      Save carbon,
  •      Beat fuel poverty &
  •      Have a sound business case.

And if they do LCC & its partners will take these forward under the charter of SmartKlub.

 Towerblocks 2

Provided an update on the current thinking on overall district heat and its connectivity to the Energy From Waste plant and potential connecting infrastructure, and asked SmartKlub to rapidly review and challenge six clusters that could form standalone District Heat schemes.


9.00 – 9.30 Arrival & Coffee Paul Connell & Tom Knowland
9.30 – 10.00 Tower Blocks & Housing Leeds Capital Works Review of Data. Feedback from Leeds City Council, Housing Leeds & SmartKlub:
Review of Towerblocks 1, SK.Development of a District Heating Network, LCC.
Tower Blocks Energy Efficiency Study – Arup
Lessons learned and Further District Heating Clusters for Towerblocks – Housing Leeds.
10.00 – 11.30 Sharing of information and review of 6 example potential Towerblock clusters for district heating. Group work to rapidly assess;Deliverability,Technology,Futureproofing &Procurement packaging.
11.30 – 12.00 Structured Review & Challenge of Suggested Approaches. Led By Paul C
12.00 – 12.30 Wrap Up, Closure, Next Steps for SK Leeds. Paul C.

Outputs from each group were captured and are presented below with accompanying Notes.



  • Every group identified that there in common with many Cities in the UK, and not necessarily the responsibility of the City Council due to the uncertainty in the Energy Market, the overall ambition of “The City Leeds” is not clearly articulated in detail.
  • Overarching ambitions are understood, but more detail is requested so that the maximum benefit from any investment is realised.
  • This is essential so that investment and long term schemes and projects can self organise against the “City’s” ambition, but also take advantage of the disruption, technical advancement and opportunity that City Scale energy offers.
  • In order for the full potential benefit of the schemes to be accessed Leeds CC needed to fully articulate its ambition with respect to energy, the city, a potential Energy Service Company with a constitution that commits it to  accessing all of the wider economic,  

Practical Considerations:

  • Blockers, each of the groups agreed that the presented schemes were potentially deliverable, i.e. that there were no major Show Stoppers in the schemes presented.
  • Planning, access & storage of fuel were identified as key constraints that need to be systematically assessed.
  • The timing & scheduling of the projects needs to be clearly reviewed and challenged.
  • The complexity of billing and metering should not be underestimated and the interface and interaction with the Leeds tariff and smart meter roll out should be explicitly managed.
  • A number of groups also highlighted that the work from Towerblocks 1 should be revisited and particularly the work on data, ethnography and procurement should be revisited.

Technology & Future Proofing

  • The technology applications presented by Housing Leeds & Arup were broadly accepted but as the detail was not able to be shared it must be said that these were not tested.
  • The groups fed back that the projects for the Tower-blocks must consider the following and that this is key to manage a clear future-proofing strategy.
  • Combined Heat & Power (CHP) – the application of CHP was a recommendation made for each cluster and modular applications were recommended by each group.
  • Storage of Heat & Power – The technological advances in this area are expected to continue to improve and develop, the way in which this technology can be applied in the future need to be included in the overall thinking for the investment strategy.
  • Insulation vs Heating, The ability to apply the best available insulation technology is critical to reduce energy use and creating low cost, efficient warm homes.
  • Smart Metering. The application of data collection technology and feedback to operators, managers and residents is a subject area that all groups identified as having a huge opportunity and that should be explored rapidly and effectively.  The ability to combine this with networked residential blocks with free wi-fi could, if managed correctly a huge opportunity.


 This was again a subject that exercised the groups in terms of what is the overall ambition?

  • Do we want the well executed delivery of six tower-block clusters? or could we use this investment to leverage, further investment, expertise, skills, significant carbon savings across the whole tower-blocks estate?
  • A number of parties identified that they would be in a position create partnerships to deliver across the whole tower-blocks estate. In order to deliver it would require the integration of finance, community outputs, pay as you save approaches, flexibility in terms of schedules and technology.
  • All teams recognised that Housing Leeds were sharing at an early stage and that they were open to approaches.
  • What was accepted was that if the most was to be gained for all parties that innovation in terms of procurement was a necessity.
  • An approach that was discussed was the application of models such as the Investor Confidence Project to provide the structure and rigour to bundle the Tower-blocks ready for Institutional Investment.

The use of existing National & Local Framework contracts was also accepted as a way of getting to a partnership relatively quickly.

 The length of the potential contracts was also highlighted and that checks and balances should be built in so that the acknowledged change and disruption can be accepted into this potential approach.

We will be keeping all contributors to SmartKlub informed, please contact or comment on this blog to stay in touch or ask any questions.