The UK has recently seen home owners and housing managers demanding an urgent retrofit strategy for buildings up and down the country. As winter draws closer and energy bills grow higher, something must be done to prevent a worrying number of homes from falling into fuel poverty.
Insulate Britain are campaigning for better housing conditions, as well as full insulation for all social housing in Britain by 2025. The campaign group is also demanding that the government sign a legally binding plan to retrofit all low-carbon and low-energy houses. This goes for all homes in Britain by 2030, as part of a full decarbonisation of the social economy sector.
So, we take a look at how a retrofit strategy could help fast-track the UK towards its net zero targets.
Why is an urgent retrofit needed?
The UK’s 29 million homes are some of the oldest and most inefficient housing stock in Europe. These homes also contribute to 15% of the country’s total emissions. For this reason, homeowners and housing organisations are now pleading with the government for an urgent retrofit strategy. Whole houses must be retrofitted, if the UK is to have any chance of reaching its net zero goals by 2050.
Earlier this year, Ofgem announced that around 15 million families would see their energy bills rise by at least £139. This price increase is largely driven by a 50% rise in wholesale energy costs. And a retrofit strategy could also help households financially. It is also important for the UK to develop a retrofit strategy, in advance of the COP26 conference in Glasgow this November.
This desire for change has prompted climate activist group ‘Architects Climate Action Network’ to launch the ‘Household Declare’ initiative. The project has been set up to enable households to make a stand on climate change and declare a climate emergency. While councils and businesses were able to do this previously, now households can also contribute to setting ambitious decarbonisation policies.
How would the retrofit impact UK housing?
Retrofitting is a highly effective way of reducing emissions. The UK Green Building Council estimates that around 80% of buildings that will exist in 2050, have already been built. Households are calling for this strategy to begin as soon as possible, to prevent more homes from being built that are neither future-proofed nor energy efficient.
Buildings are the second largest contributor to carbon emissions in the UK. But unfortunately, many households cannot afford to make their homes energy efficient. So, a green housing revolution must be established as soon as possible.
Retrofitting can bring social, environmental and economic benefits. Cutting emissions and embracing sustainable energy will make it cheaper to heat our homes. This will in turn lift households out of fuel poverty and reduce the health problems related to drafty, cold houses. Retrofitting will significantly reduce energy use around the UK, making the prospect of a low carbon a real possibility.
There are 13 organisations, including British Gas and Nationwide Building Society, that have identified seven guiding principles needed for a retrofit strategy. These include:
- Future-proofed properties
- Green retrofitting jobs
- Making it fairly financed
- Regulation of green retrofitting
- An inspiring public information campaign
- Incorporating green power into green homes
- Building homes with future regulations in mind
How can Monarch help?
The UK must take serious action to reach its net zero targets. And it is in everyone’s interest to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible.
At Monarch, we prioritise the needs of our clients. Our dynamic tenant billing and comprehensive range of energy efficiency services means we can provide the most effective service possible.
We work with over 200 housing associations to relieve procurement officers and finance managers of some of their heavy workloads. We want to make your life easier by decreasing costs and managing utilities efficiently and effectively.
Get in touch today to find out more about how we can help you become more sustainable.