|The aim of the project is to validate the cost, time and energy effectiveness of domestic retrofit across different house types, using an approach that could be employed to improve the energy efficiency of the vast majority of the existing 26 million homes in the UK which will still be in existence by 2050. The novel, mass-scale retrofit approach being tested was first developed in a deskbased ETI project (“Optimising Thermal Efficiency of Existing Housing”) completed in 2012, as part of the ETI Buildings programme. The 20-month long, £475,000 project will retrofit five types of domestic property, identified and prioritised in the earlier ETI project.
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. 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.
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 engagingwith households and the practicality of delivering at scale within the 37 year timeframe.
- The market and press reaction to the initial rollout is crucial to future success. Early failures in performance, service or cost will be very difficult to recover from
- There is significant potential from linking low carbon retrofit with other large scale domestic changes: flood protection, smart meter rollout, water company initiatives and IT, electrical or gas infrastructure repair and upgrade.
- Although a street by street approach is considered by some to be more effective, the project team can see limited potential to engage consumers in the dominant Owner Occupier market. In addition a correctly designed process should deliver equally cost effectively for single properties
- Retrofit should enable a general improvement in the currently poor condition of UK housingstock, or at least reduce the rate of further decline
- Mass scale retrofit models can support and be encouraged by other initiatives such as Energy Company Obligations (ECO) and the Green Deal if presentation to the public is clear and objectives are seen to be aligned.