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retrofitting the UK’s old, cold homes to meet climate targets

Energy used in our homes accounts for about 20% of UK greenhouse gas emissions, and most of that comes from heating and hot water. If we are to meet our climate goals we need to start decarbonising domestic energy.  But efficient new builds won’t be enough on their own, as 80% of the homes we will inhabit in 2050 have already been built.

That means deep retrofitting could be necessary if domestic emissions are to be dented.  It would have other benefits too, making cold homes warmer, healthier and reducing bills.  But what would make the biggest difference to Britain’s old, cold housing?  How much money and carbon is leaking away because of basic inefficiencies in our homes?  Can we hope to meet climate targets if we don’t retrofit?  Is it realistic to imagine a wholesale removal of boilers and the retrofit of insulated, ventilated and dry homes, sustainably powered?  And how much would it all cost?

Scaling Up Retrofit 2050, a new report from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), examines these questions and looks at what could be achieved if we started with social housing which makes up 17% of UK stock.



Prof Marjan Sarshar, Professor of Sustainability and the Built Environment at Nottingham Trent University, and co-author of the report

Dr Richard Miller, Director of Miller-Klein Associates Ltd., lead researcher and lead author of the report

Rick Hartwig, Built Environment Lead for the IET

Taking part in the Q&A:

Jon Warren – Supply Chain and Policy lead at Energiesprong UK, Chartered Engineer and member of the IET


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