Housing Retrofit Roadmap Shares First Steps to Net-Zero

Our homes use roughly 30% of the UK’s energy and cause 18% of our carbon emissions. Reducing these numbers will play a huge part in achieving our 2050 targets, but how do we get there?

Connected Places Catapult’s report, Retrofit: Towards a Sector Wide Roadmap 2020, takes the fact 75% of UK homes were built before insulation and energy use standards were even considered as its start point. Twenty-seven million houses are not making any real contribution to decarbonisation today.

We can’t rely on new buildings to replace them. The process is too slow. We can’t wait for Net Zero power generation either as our overall demand for energy just keeps rising. Sitting in the middle is retrofitting existing housing stock with technology, but is that feasible? We think it is. What is more, Retrofit: Towards a Sector Wide Roadmap 2020 outlines the first steps towards implementation.

Current Homes Aren’t Fit-For-Purpose

Many UK homes are old and inefficient. Over 82% of UK domestic energy is being used to provide owners with basic heating and hot water. This issue is compounded by the fact that, by 2030, a fifth of the population will be over sixty-five. 10% of excess winter deaths are, today, directly attributed to fuel poverty. Any failures of domestic energy policy risk increasing the country’s social and health burden.

The Future of Home Energy

How can those buying or selling homes in the future make a difference? In writing the report, we consulted forty industry experts to explore retrofit market challenges. During this process, it became clear that interest in the kind of ‘Deep Retrofits’ required to create Net Zero homes was desperately low and having little impact. Those with energy-saving products to sell and potential domestic customers both had needs that were being left unmet.

Four Core Ideas for Retrofitting UK Homes

Each contributor to the report was asked two questions to help us understand current issues and stimulate greater interest.

• What needs to be true for housing owners to invest in deep retrofit?

• What changes are needed by suppliers to help them develop and deliver solutions?

Their answers led to four core action points that form Retrofit: Towards a Sector Wide Roadmap 2020 key recommendations.

  • Develop a deeper understanding of our current housing stock to find the best solutions.
  • Create easily replicable and integrated ‘retrofit kits.’
  • Explore mass customisation of standard solutions to fit our diverse housing stock.
  • Create a finance platform and standard contracts to match projects and funders.

These actions, we believe, will support further development and funding of Net Zero projects. The right partnerships between Government, funding agencies, and industry will see a transformation in the UK housing stock as a technically deliverable, practical reality.

Director of Market Intelligence at CPC, Erin Walsh said Retrofit – Towards A Sector-Wide Roadmap 2020 identifies market challenges from the perspective of buyers and suppliers. The four key ideas that emerged from this process will help us overcome some barriers and support the cost-effective delivery of deep retrofit in volume and at speed.

To read Retrofit – Towards A Sector-Wide Roadmap 2020 and find out more about our research findings and recommendations, visit the project page.