The Retrofit factfile – making the case for retrofit

The Retrofit factile is a short summary of facts and publications relevant to retrofit – the upgrading of existing homes to new energy efficient standards. It makes the case for retrofit and goes on to explore the potential benefits for buildings, people and the economy.

In terms of final energy consumption, the report finds that the housing sector accounts for 29%, more than either road transport or industry. Data from 2013 suggests that as many as:

• 7.6 million homes require solid wall insulation.
• 5.3 million require cavity wall insulation, 3.8 million of which are classed as ‘hard to treat’.
• 7.4 million un-insulated lofts, 1.7 million of which are classed as ‘hard to treat’.

Elsewhere – in Germany – the benefits of government support has been enormous – “For every €1 of public funds spent on the KfW Energy-efficient Construction and Refurbishment programme in Germany in 2010, over €15 were invested in construction and retrofit, and more than €4 went back to the public finances in taxes and reduced welfare spending’ (KfW, 2011).”

The report goes on to share some of the real and positive data collected during Carbon Co-op’s Community Green Deal project in Manchester. Post occupancy performance feedback on the project has been extremely positive. Participants saved an average of £900 per year on their energy bills, cutting their gas use by nearly a half:

• The average reduction in gas use across the properties monitored is 47%
• The average estimated space heating demand is 65 kWh/m2/year
• The average CO2 emissions reduction (including installed PV) is 62%
• The average CO2 emissions rate is 17 kgCO2/m2/year – the 2050 domestic retrofit target for Greater Manchester.

Householders have noted the following post-retrofit:

• Homes are warmer
• Less damp and that the air feels fresher
• Homes are less draughty
• Homes are cooler in summer when it’s hot
• Warmer in the mornings suggesting an improvement in minimum internal temperatures (i.e. when the heating is switched off)
• Homes are slower to cool down and faster to warm up
• Improved occupancy of rooms that weren’t frequently used before

The Retrofit factfile report was published in September 2016 following a collaboration between Urbed and Carbon-Coop.