The refurbishment of our homes and buildings is one of the greatest challenges we face. The majority of our existing stock requires some level of retrofit to enable us to live and work more sustainably.
Introduction to retrofit
Homes and non-domestic buildings are, together, responsible for around 37% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of them will still be standing in 2050, meaning that we need to undertake a massive programme of green retrofit and energy demand reduction if we are to:
Meet our climate change goals
Improve energy security
Tackle fuel poverty
Create green jobs
UK-GBC does work around both domestic and non-domestic retrofit. Many of the practical and policy issues are shared across both areas, but both have their own unique challenges and opportunities.
Rising energy bills and concerns over fuel poverty have moved domestic energy policy to the very highest levels of the Government agenda. This has led to the development of a new, flagship policy to tackle home energy efficiency - the Green Deal. The "Pay as You Save" idea underpinning the scheme originally came from a UK-GBC Task Group back in 2009 and we’ve been involved in trying to make it a success ever since.
With 26 millions homes in the UK, the Green Deal not only represents a massive sustainability opportunity, but could also help to create a huge market for energy efficiency products and services that would bring a significant boost to the UK economy.
To read more about domestic energy efficiency policies, including the Green Deal, visit our domestic retrofit page. If you are a homeowner looking for information about how you can improve the energy efficiency of your home, the Energy Saving Trust website is a good place to start your search for advice.
Energy efficiency and wider sustainability of the UK's 1.8 million non-domestic buildings has risen up the Government agenda in recent years, with a growing number of policies in place intended to drive improvements in this area. These include the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC-EES) and the mandation on Display Energy Certificates (DECs) for public sector buildings.
And this drive is continuing. From 2018 it will be illegal to rent out poorly performing commercial property (currently expected to be properties below an E EPC rating). And from 2014 all large organisations will be required to undertake energy audits (covering both their buildings and wider energy use) under the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Scheme (ESOS).
Alongside these developments, the UK-GBC has consistently called for the roll-out of Display Energy Certificates (DECs) to the commercial sector. We believe that this would not only help to catalyse improvements in energy performance, but would also help to create a vibrant market for energy efficient buildings. In the absence of Government action to make this happen, we continue to work with our members and the wider industry to encourage the voluntary use of DECs.
To read more about our work on energy efficiency in the non-domestic sector, visit our non-domestic retrofit page.