The backdrop for this project has been the UK’s 2050 Climate Change Commitments and so the requirement has been to develop pragmatic solutions which can make a significant contribution to meeting the mandatory 80% reduction in UK CO2 emissions. There is a great deal of valuable work on energy efficiency being carried out both on national policy and at the individual property level. This project has endeavoured to consider the end to end value chain for domestic dwellings whilst focusing primarily on thermal efficiency (heat). The objective has been to carry out rigorous, but desk based, research to conceive a future state where there are mechanisms, appealing to householders, which greatly reduce the energy demand of existing domestic properties (more than 50%). With 26 million UK properties the prime considerations have been the challenges of engaging with households and the practicality of delivering at scale within the 37 year timeframe.
To meet the two year project timeframe the team refined the computer models in parallel with consumer research and development of new solutions and delivery models. The close collaboration to make this work required regular workshops; both within the team to review interim results and with external organisations to challenge and peer review findings.
The project has provided valuable insight by enhancing existing energy models, completing new consumer research and developing design, supply chain and policy solutions which challenge existing paradigms.In this report the findings are presented as responses to a series of questions:
What does the householder want? Consumers need increased confidence in both the need for retrofit and in suppliers’ ability to deliver with minimal disruption, whilst meeting an investment ceiling of £10,000. Within the UK population the project has identified age and income profiles which define groups that are more likely to take up retrofit ahead of the curve
What are the ideal solutions? There are both consumer and technical drivers to tackle retrofit by doing it once and doing it properly. RetroFix is proposed as a minimum solution; which takes walls and loft insulation beyond current cavity wall insulation performance and upgrades to the most efficient heat sources (boilers). At the recommended RetroPlus level floors, doors, windows are tackled beyond the RetroFix measures.
Where should retrofit be focused? The research has identified house types and geographical locations which link with early adopting householder groups. Modelling shows that older properties tend to have significantly higher current energy consumption and hence potential saving, albeit with a wide spread of energy use across each population.