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Housing Deep Retrofit Project

The Nature of the Challenge

Our homes consume about 30% of the UK’s energy and produce 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. 80% of that energy is for space and hot water heating, mostly from gas.

In June 2019, the UK became the first major economy to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. This will require the UK to bring all greenhouse emissions to net zero by 2050. With this net-zero target for UK carbon emissions, it is vital that we cut the energy required for domestic space and hot-water heating to a minimum and use only zero carbon sources.

The UK housing stock is old and inefficient, and the replacement rate is low. 80% of the homes we will use in 2050 already exist.

We therefore must upgrade our existing housing stock to be much more energy-efficient. This means improving the fabric of the buildings, to transform the existing housing stock into homes fit for the future.

Homes fit for the future are homes that are:

  • Low carbon
  • Resilient to climate change
  • Attractive and desirable places to live
  • Adaptable to the changing needs of society

To upgrade 27 million homes by 2050, we need to deliver retrofits in volume, quickly and cost-effectively and to ensure that any upgrades installed will not further improvements in the future.

Barriers of Today

On 26 February 2019 over 120 stakeholders attended an event titled ‘Homes fit for the future – accelerating the deep retrofit market‘ at the Urban Innovation Centre in Clerkenwell to debate how we can upgrade our housing stock to tackle the challenge of climate change and meet the future needs of our citizens.

“Homes fit for the future – accelerating the deep retrofit market” was a joint event organised by the Connected Place Catapult, Innovate UK and The Institution of Engineering and Technology (the IET). It took as its starting point a report published in November 2018 by the IET and Nottingham Trent University – “Scaling Up Retrofit 2050”.

A strong theme which emerged from the event was the need to:

  • Develop a national retrofit programme; initially focused on social housing.
  • Reduce costs and build supply chain capacity through pilot projects and demonstrators.
  • Make the benefits of deep retrofit clearer to housing providers and householders.
  • Encourage investment through innovative finance.

A summary of the findings from the event can be found in this report.

Findings from this event led to Connected Places Catapult kickstarting a Housing Deep Retrofit Project seeking to convene industry and Government stakeholders to create a joint government/industry blueprint for deep retrofit as recommended from the event. The aim would be to help capture a coherent story, understood by all the key stakeholders, to support the development of a roadmap to meet 2050 zero-carbon targets.

Our Housing Innovation Week convened partners from across the housing ecosystem to foster collaborative innovation opportunities to contribute towards homes which are designed, built and maintained to meet the needs of the generations to come. The deep retrofit workshop presentation can be found here.

Would you like to contribute to our research?

Connected Places Catapult will be conducting interviews with industry stakeholders to explore the needs and opportunities with regards to bridging the gap between demand and supplier to scaling deep retrofit. If you would like to contribute to our research please email


Tackling the Housing Deep Retrofit Challenge