The UK requires a retrofitting revolution
Members of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) and House Builders Association (HBA) have a strong history of stimulating green policies. From installing renewables and building energy efficient housing with British made products, to supporting biodiversity policy and writing low carbon reports, we’ve always recognised the need for a sustainable future.
However, with more than five million UK homes without cavity walls, almost five million built before 1919 and around 18 million built without insulation, the retrofit housing challenge is colossal.
Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “The UK has some of the least energy efficient housing in Europe and that must change. With new homes saving on average £555 a year on energy bills and using two thirds less energy, it’s clear we need a revolutionary and sustained retrofitting programme.”
Following on from our low carbon construction report and as the installation supply chain, we are opening ourselves up to the widerindustry to come together and highlight all the solutions and barriers to a retrofitting revolution.”
The table below examples some of the challenges homeowners and builders face.
Planning permission required
|External insulation||From £8,000||No, unless building materials are different|
|Raise roof to install insulation||From £15,000||Yes|
|Roof insulation||From £285||No|
|New, more energy efficient roof||From £5,000||Not if tiles are being replaced ‘like for like’|
|Cavity wall insulation||From £330||No|
|Solar/thermal panels||From £4,000||No, unless on listed buildings/in conservation zones|
|Single wind turbine||From £2,000||Sometimes. Yes when on listed buildings/in conservation zones|
|Ground/air source heat pumps||From £6,000||No, unless on listed buildings/in conservation zones|
|Damp proofing||From £200||No, unless building a basement or on listed buildings/in conservation zones|
|New windows||From £300 per window||No, unless on listed buildings/in conservation zones|
|Reduce draughts||From £200||No|
|Install underfloor heating||From £1,500||No|
|Programmable thermostat||From £150||No|
|Replace lightbulbs for energy efficient ones||From £3||No|
|Change boiler||From £1,400||No|
|Block chimney||From £75||No|
|Deep retrofit (eg-EnerPHit)||From £16,000||Yes|
|Correct flushing of radiators||From £250||No|
|Electric vehicle charging point||From £1000||Typically not|
Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing at the HBA, said: “There are many things we should be looking at that wouldn’t require public funding, such as simplified planning processes for retrofit projects, longer lasting permissions to allow homeowners time to save for upgrades, and cutting VAT on refurbishment. We could even allow homebuyers to claim back stamp duty on retrofitted works.
With the 2020 budget fast approaching, the Government has a great opportunity to signal its ambition and push us closer to meeting our climate targets. They must engage with industry to find out how that’s possible.”
The NFB’s report, ‘Transforming Construction for a Low Carbon Future’ can be downloaded here.