Leading property technology platform, Plentific, in partnership with GlobeScan, have published the findings of an in-depth report assessing the challenges associated with retrofitting the property sector to meet tough climate change targets. Some 26 million homes in the United Kingdom will need retrofitting by 2050 and leading experts from housing organisations such as Peabody, Aster Group, Notting Hill Genesis and Clarion have provided their insights about the road ahead.
The challenge is clear: buildings account for 30%-40% of the energy consumed and 20%-36% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions across Europe and the US. The UK has committed to legally-binding targets to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. A key milestone is in just eight year’s time, with all homes required to have an EPC rating of B or C by 2030. All retrofits are now tied to the British Standards Institute (BSI) PAS 2035 framework in order to receive UK Government funding.
The experts identified several factors which can accelerate and improve retrofits, including:
- Achieve EPC C compliance – help identify easy wins and execute action plans to implement simple energy efficiency measures such as lighting upgrades
- Align improvements with repairs – take advantage of times when something breaks or needs repair to implement retrofit measures
- Help navigate and simplify policy and funding challenges – provide user-friendly tools that help managers to efficiently navigate policy requirements and funding sources
- Facilitate surveys and data collection – better data leads to better retrofit outcomes
- Help engage and educate residents – property managers need help with engaging, educating and getting buy-in from residents for retrofits
- Fill gaps in net carbon zero requirements – support property managers with taking action to address emerging issue areas like biodiversity and green spaces
- Enable pilot projects – experimenting with smaller scale projects will prove an effective way to learn about and improve the approach to retrofits
The report also highlights the key role that social housing has to play in catalysing the market for retrofits and energy efficiency measures. With close to four million social housing units in the UK the sector has the potential to harness innovation and economies of scale that benefit all. Evidence for this comes in the form of Clarion Housing Group, the largest social landlord in the UK, which recently participated in the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund demonstrator project.
Securing £9m of investment, Clarion upgraded 115 of its least energy efficient properties with EPC ratings of D or below. Measures included external wall and loft insulation, triple glazed windows, air source heat pumps, photovoltaic (PV) panels and centralised mechanical ventilation. Paul Norman, its Head of Asset Management remarked that: “In just 12 months working on Clarion’s demonstrator project, the innovations that have come out in just that short space of time have already probably saved us around £480 million over 30 years, with residents saving between £300- £500 on their energy bills annually.”
The study also assessed the three approaches to retrofits – ‘deep renovations’ or ‘whole-building’ retrofits; deep renovations via staged or step-by-step retrofits and one-off and serial retrofits. It concludes that a mix of the above will be needed. Deep retrofits are often higher quality and more likely to avoid issues that can impact more incremental approaches. But others such as the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) network caution that a piecemeal approach of serial upgrades can have the unintended consequence of locking in constraints and limiting future opportunities for energy efficiency.
Cem Savas, CEO and Co-founder of Plentific comments: “The research from our experts offers valuable guidance and points to a tremendous opportunity. Future-proofing our buildings will fix the most pressing environmental, social and economic issues facing society today.”
Plentific is an all-in-one delivery platform for property maintenance. Plentific is trusted by some of the best-known organisations in property, including L&Q, Peabody and Notting Hill Genesis, to manage over 800,000 properties across the UK, Germany and USA. Plentific has redesigned and digitalised the entire property management value chain integrating repairs, compliance, inspections, turns and resident management to streamline property maintenance and provide instant insight into the health of a property portfolio. For more information, please visit www.plentific.com