Retrofitting Resilience

Run from 19/01/22 - 08/02/22


Our climate is changing and the impacts on our buildings, infrastructure and way of life are set to increase. It is not enough to mitigate against future climate change, we also need to adapt to the inevitable impacts we are locked into. As highlighted through the IPCC’s ‘Climate Change 2022: Impact, Adaptation and Vulnerability‘ report, much greater investment in adaptation measures and solutions is needed, in cities especially, and nature offers huge potential to reduce climate risks.

Such solutions to enable climate resilience already to exist, but they aren’t always common knowledge or well understood. And we don’t always have time to individually search for them or generate new ideas from scratch. To help seek out some of the solutions, we launched this challenge, identified through UKGBC’s Resilience & Nature-Based Solutions programme, and refined in collaboration with our member Judging Panel.

Member Judging Panel:

  • Kulbir Bhatti, Sustainability Manager & Lea Vavrik, Sustainability Analyst – Great Portland Estates
  • Juliet Staples, Senior Project Manager URBAN GreenUP – Liverpool City Council
  • Gillian Dick, Manager Spatial Planning – Research & Development – Glasgow City Council
  • Robert Winch, ESG Consultant – Hoare Lea


How can existing buildings be made more resilient to climate change, with as little disruption to their occupants as possible, by 2030?

Challenge context


Existing and heritage buildings can play a leading role in the fight against climate change. However, we must also make our buildings ready for the inevitable climate change impacts we are undeniably already facing, and are locked into. This challenge focused on the climate adaptation potential of retrofit. We looked to uncover what can be done to reduce the impact of climate change on existing buildings, mindful of the challenges associated with retrofitting older building stock (commercial or residential) and a need to minimise disruption to occupants.


Solutions received were evaluated by UKGBC and our member Judging Panel. A shortlist of solutions that address the challenge well are highlighted below.


To see how EarthScan works in under 3 minutes watch this video!

Cervest offers the world’s first science-backed- and AI-driven Climate Intelligence (CI) platform, starting with their flagship product EarthScanTM, that enables everyone to transparently discover, quantify and share climate risk on millions of assets.

EarthScan displays a unified view of asset-level climate risk, providing critical analysis and insight into the probabilistic likelihood of climate shocks and stresses such as flooding, heatwaves and drought. It provides insights across multiple risks, timeframes and emissions scenarios simultaneously, for a complete picture of climate risk that’s dynamic and based on the latest peer-reviewed science.

Earthscan enables building owners to analyse the climate risks of their portfolios to allow them to come up with effective adaptation strategies that are most relevant for their properties.

Rain Activ

To see how Rain Activ works in just 4 minutes watch this video!

Rain Activ is an ultra-low discharge storm attenuation device with peak discharge rate as low as 0.05 litre/second.

This SuDS system can be used independently or in conjunction with rainwater harvesting. If all properties were able to attenuate storm water during a storm event and then slowly release this water into the drainage system, this would alleviate a lot of pressures on an already stressed system, prevent localised flooding and allow local water authorities to capture more water to be treated.


The ‘smart’ blue-green roof from Polypipe Civils & Green Urbanisation (applied to Bruntwood Works’ Bloc) is addressing the need to develop greater understanding of how new construction and data technologies can help cities and urban developments to mitigate the impact of climate change and population growth, while enhancing biodiversity.

This two-year roof research programme will demonstrate the multifunctional potential of green urbanisation. The ‘smart’ blue-green roof will assess how storing and reusing rainwater at roof level can reduce the volume of surface run-off entering its sewer network. It will help lower the flood risk associated with the prolonged high-intensity storm events.

Green Roof Project

To see how the Green Roof Project works in just 4 minutes watch this video!

The Green Roof Project is, in effect, a takeover of rooftops for people and nature by creating green spaces to support community cohesion, raise awareness and demonstrate the benefits of green roofing.

The Green Roof Project combines both product (green roof, roof garden and growing spaces) and service (installation, training and outreach) to pioneer the retrofit potential of green and blue roofs in towns and cities.


HydroMX is a safe nanoparticle based heat transfer fluid which replaces the water or water/glycol mixes used in heating, cooling and heat recovery applications.

Energy usage reduction is typically between 20% and 35% – a major step towards zero-carbon – and can be initiated very quickly.


A new, modular, bioretention rain garden system, manufactured in the UK from 100% recycled material. The HydroPlanter is a stormwater management solution that can be retrofitted into developments of any size. This is a ‘plug and play’ sustainable urban drainage solution that can attenuate and cleanse storm water and provide amenity and biodiversity to new and existing spaces. The modules will be filled with a particular soil specification and planted wildflowers and biodiverse grasses.


Building green infrastructure in cities increases effective stormwater management, such as water retention and/or detention on the roof. The Sempergreen Detention and Retention Roofs provide the solution by harvesting rainwater on the roof. Rainwater can be efficiently stored without having to dig a hole in the ground which is especially useful in urban areas with little space and on existing buildings. In addition, these water retaining and detaining green roofs also provide extra benefits. They include increasing local biodiversity, extending the lifespan of the roof covering and cooling the indoor and outdoor areas.

Solar Control Film

Solar window film is a highly effective solution for reducing heat gain and glare, reducing IR radiation and UV without reducing outward vision through windows. It can be retrofitted to existing windows making it a cost-effective way of managing temperature and glare.

Technitherm Closed Cell Insulation

Technitherm is the only cavity wall insulation to pass the BRE Flood Resilience Test. Flood waters can penetrate unprotected cavity walls and cause major damage to the inner leaf, cavity wall ties, standard (fibre, polystyrene bead), cavity wall insulation materials, plaster, electrical appliances, furnishings and decorations. Technitherm cavity insulation is a fundamental process in stabilising and strengthening property walls in preparation for flood risk, enabling them to withstand greater pressures from exerting flood water and debris.

LivePanel Outdoor

The patented LivePanel system outdoor creates a unique and innovative green facade, ideal for the installation of vertical greenery in otherwise grey and urban areas. Also known as living walls, the LivePanel is planted with real plants, introducing foliage and flower and contributing not only to the aesthetic beauty of an exterior wall, but to the biodiversity, clean air quality levels, heat regulation and climate-proofing of city buildings.

Content within the solutions library is supplied by the solution providers and UKGBC offers no commercial endorsement of individual solutions mentioned. Solutions are showcased as a source of inspiration, and we do hope that you follow up with the innovators to find out more.