|This project looked at designing a supply chain solution to improve the energy efficiency of the vast majority of the 26 million UK homes which will still be in use by 2050.It looked to identify ways in which the refurbishment and retrofitting of existing residential properties can be accelerated by industrialising the processes of design, supply and implementation, while stimulating demand from householders by exploiting additional opportunities that come with extensive building refurbishment.The project developed a top-to-bottom process, using a method of analysing the most cost-effective package of measures suitable for a particular property, through to how these will be installed with the minimum disruption to the householder. This includes identifying the skills required of the people on the ground as well as the optimum material distribution networks to supply them with exactly what is required and when.
This is the final deliverable in Work Package 3. The report provide a comprehensive overview of Work Package 3 and draws out the main conclusions and findings of all the deliverables. It also recommends areas for further research and builds on the recommendations for mass roll-out as outlined in Deliverable 3.5 (Mass Implementation Plan).
The following headlines comprise the main themes running through all of the deliverables:
- House Types
- The most likely house types to target for mass retrofit should be based not only on their frequency of occurrence but also their impact on overall carbon emissions.
- In terms of customer types, segments should be considered according to the size of the population segment, their openness to retrofit, and their awareness of environmental issues.
- The most likely primary target markets for retrofit would be within the Early Entrepreneurs, Transitional Retirees and Older Established Segments. Stretched Pensioners are open to retrofit but may be limited by their ability to fund the retrofit.
- Whole House Solutions
- The whole house packages that emerged as a result of this project comprise solutions that scored highly across several criteria categories - solutions that made sense from a design and construction point of view, were affordable, and were relatively easy to bring to market and upscale into mass-market implementation. Solutions that were also cost-effective in terms of cost per kg CO2 of carbon saved were also included, but were considered in terms of how potential improvements could be applied to both product and supply chain in order to improve scalability and deployment.
- “Do it once and do it properly” was the key to the generation of these whole house packages. Incremental piecemeal improvements do yield thermal efficiency improvements, but the installation of these improvements as a whole system would yield benefits in terms of cost effectiveness (avoidance of cost duplication), enhanced performance (better thermal detailing at junctions), risk mitigation (minimise damage/decreased performance of previously installed measures), waste minimisation and disruption.
- Most of the solutions that we would need for mass-scale whole house retrofit currently exist in some shape or form - the key is to work on making them better, high performing, and assembling them as an integrated systems solution that ensures that each component performs as it should instead of the piecemeal approach to retrofit that is employed today.
- There are a number of factors that influence the success of a particular measure or solution - it is not simply about cost or performance. Supply chain maturity, consumer acceptance and the robustness of national and local policies all play a crucial role.
- Current costs of retrofit are high due to the piecemeal, silo-based method that the construction industry uses for costing and for delivering the work. It is apparent that there is a lot of potential for optimising the process (of the costing itself as well as the retrofit activity) in order to bring down the costs. The costing exercises show that the low-carbon options costs over twice as much as doing a ‘quick and easy’ - basic thermal improvements with minimal disruption. And incentives such as a room in roof or a new kitchen and bathroom (depending on the standard of course) could cause a quadrupling of the costs.
- The major dependency for the success of a mass retrofit programme is customer acceptance. Regardless of the preparatory work to 2020, the success of any retrofit scheme will depend on customer awareness, understanding and most importantly, trust.
- The major obstacles beyond customer demand are likely to include:
- Available funding and cost
- Heritage and aesthetic concerns
- Improved trust in the building industry
- Appropriate upskilling
- Policy initiatives should be aimed to create conditions in 2020 that support both customer interest acceptance and supply chain development.
One element which has not been included as a significant barrier, but which can contribute to the overall success of the programme is product innovation. The essential products necessary for retrofit are already available, although some will need to become more widely available and with reduced costs.
- External wall insulation has emerged as the key thermal element for both Retrofix and Retropluspackages, and as such the effect of a mass rollout on neighbourhood streetscapes will need to be considered.