West Midlands Innovation Programme case study – TIN Smart Social

The TIN Smart Social Ltd consortium is in receipt of a £334,023 grant to develop its DOORWAYS solution and in addition to this funding from Innovate UK, the company has received an award from the West Midlands Innovation Programme of £210,000, commissioned by Energy Capital, an agency of West Midlands Combined Authority, to make the business case for scaling up of retrofit. This six-month project explores innovative aspects of supply chain, technology, skills, financing options, and demand aggregation that underpin delivery of retrofitting of homes at scale.

Supported by this funding from Innovate UK and the award from the West Midlands Innovation Programme, TIN Smart Social will be able to develop a supply chain capable of scaling innovative end-to-end, offsite ‘no regrets’, asset management aligned, 2050 ready energy-efficient wall and roof-systems solutions that can be locally manufactured and assembled to update and modernise homes.

TIN Smart Social has developed with a partner ecosystem a ‘Covid-19 bounce-forward’ cycle of identifying potential local manufacturing and construction talent – digital multi-skilling, upskilling and cross-skilling a DEVELOP-DESIGN-MAKE-SUPPLY-INSTALL-MAINTAIN workforce and creating local jobs.

This aligns with their broader mission to support people to live comfortably, work efficiently in a rewarding job they have been expertly trained in, are highly skilled at and that they love; live safely without harming the environment or endangering their long-term health and to support the future of more sustainable, inclusive and equitable communities in which ‘‘life works’ for everyone.

Jamie Elliott, WMCA Innovation Lead, is delighted to see the initial grant funding to TIN Smart Social being used to tackle fuel poverty.

“The aim of the full WM Innovation Programme is to drive up levels of demand-led business innovation across all areas of the region’ by delivering a stronger, more integrated innovation support offer to business leading to more innovation active businesses and productivity gains. 

By supporting the Fuel Poverty and Regional Retrofit Programme led by Energy Capital we have enabled TIN Smart Social to develop innovative approaches to addressing the challenges of retrofitting social housing.”

Says Alex Cole, CEO TIN Smart Social “Around £34billion spent on energy by domestic customers is effectively wasted every year.

Fully mitigating this waste will boost people’s disposable income, create new jobs in both off-site manufacturing and on-site construction and meet 2050 legal sustainability requirements for zero carbon and energy neutrality.

No one should be living in fuel poverty in this country, and warm homes literally save lives. We’re thrilled to have been awarded funding that supports our work as a driver for a better energy future and which also underpins technological innovation that can help build hope, confidence, aspiration and wellbeing, build warmth into homes and communities and help build a fairer society.”

DOORWAYS is a key breakthrough combination of products, attractive to owner/occupiers/private and social landlords and part of an innovative social house retrofit programme that tackles both fuel poverty and emissions without the need for government subsidy. This is achieved by a proportion of the energy savings achieved paying off the capital costs, regenerating some of Britain’s most deprived areas, all funded by global green social finance to ‘Build Back Better’. To ensure a creation of a new supply chain to meet this challenge, TIN Smart Social has its own exemplar factory and skills village ensuring other manufacturers can license their own DOORWAYS automation lines or ‘pop up factories’ with full turnkey support to create high value UK jobs. 

One of the major challenges with a deep house retrofit is the time an occupant may have to stay away from the property while the roof is taken off and replaced or while walls are being re-bricked. DOORWAYS significantly reduces disruption to the occupant with the roof being in place and water-tight in one day and the walls lifted into place within two days. This also reduces the number of vehicles needed to attend the site and the amount of waste materials created by traditional methods. DOORWAYS creates a highly efficient and easy to install roof and external wall insulation (EWI) system that can be produced in volume off site, within a high-quality controlled environment, aligned to the government’s Construction Innovation Hub standardised platform approach and aims to be 50% cheaper then equivalent market solutions.

Deep retrofit work using modern methods of construction (MMC) computer aided manufacture (CAM)] and on-site automated rapid placement (with a target of £20k per home) will create significant benefits and promise at least 300,000 direct new jobs (and the same indirectly through the supply chain), driving GDP up towards £100 Billion annually to help lift the UK out of the COVID-19 pandemic downturn.

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £191 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund over the next two years. The aim of these competitions is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19. The Sustainable Innovation Fund is funding 1,103 projects, 1189 UK businesses and totalling over £130 million in support across the UK.

Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr Ian Campbell said, “In these difficult times we have seen the best of British business innovation. The pandemic is not just a health emergency but one that impacts society and the economy. TIN Smart Social’s collaborative work, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development. Each one is also helping to realise the ambitions of hard-working people.”