Retrofit to ‘net zero’


£35k average home retrofit cost ‘demonstrably inequitable’

This article is shining a light on the differences in the cost of retrofitting in different localities, especially those that are in less affluent areas. They also suggest that the cost of retrofitting empty buildings may be too much and thus cheaper to demolish. 


This then begs the question, doesn't that go against achieving ‘net zero’?


The premise of the article brings home the idea that we cannot achieve the ‘net zero’ goals by 2050. 


I wrote something on a similar note regarding this very same problem. Looking at this objectively, how many of the approx. 30 million households can afford to pay £35k to retrofit their property? I would guess that it would be very few.


The average house owner does not have the finances to retrofit their house to the standards that are required. Given that what is required is not fully outlined, what can an average property owner do? It is not as simple as adding more insulation to the roof or walls as this (if not done properly) can lead to other problems like damp and mould. 


Who can you ask to give you some proper advice about your property and how best to retrofit? An average person would assume that their builder would know what to do, and go by that information. This kind of retrofit requires specialists to carry out the work to high standards, there are very few around and are expensive. This is a recipe for disaster for a lot of house owners having work carried out that might not be required, or investing in ‘green’ technology that is not going to be cost effective in the long run or worse, being duped by cowboys out to make easy money.


The information about exactly what is required to retrofit the average property in the UK and how best to achieve this needs to be clearer. This article mentions the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and The sustainability group, there are probably more, but what needs to happen is to have one set of rules for retrofit that everyone can comply with. 


Each building will have a different set of issues and there at least needs to be a basic format of what can be done.There also needs to be certifications and guarantees that will adhere to standards and assist property owners, this will be an incentive in some cases.

Posted by: @nazart

The average house owner does not have the finances to retrofit their house to the standards that are required. Given that what is required is not fully outlined, what can an average property owner do?

There is so much information that needs to be sorted through to get to something that will work best for each property. I do have clients asking me about different types of energy saving sustainable products and it is sometimes difficult to know what to tell them.


For instance one of my clients who is just having an extension done asked about HVAC’s. They were told that this was energy efficient and would be better for the environment. This is one of the items that needs more information, these are larger than your average boiler and require a lot of space around them once fitted. I had to let the clients  know that these systems are only good when the whole house is fully insulated and there is good air-tightness. This would mean spending a lot of money upfront for savings that they may not see for a few years.  


There is a lot of information around about how bad the situation is about the retrofit program for the UK's existing structures, especially housing. Recently in dezeen Muyiwa Oki talks about the problems of retrofit and reaching the net zero targets.  It’s good to see that he acknowledges that there are a lot of problems with financing and the problems with retrofitting if not done properly can cause problems. He is also not being naive about the fact that this is something of a scale that may not be achieved. 


This has been obvious for a few years now and still nothing has been offered as an alternative or any viable options in how to help homeowners to upgrade their properties. So, although Muyiwa sets out all the things that are mentioned above in this topic and apart from a change in government or various tax incentives there is not much else that can assist in reaching the net zero targets. 


@nazart do you have a link to the article?


@whitakerarms here is the link: