We may all have questioned how to cut power use because of the alarming rise in energy prices. As part of its net zero decarbonisation goal, the government targets household energy consumption as a major factor. There is a lot of talk about retrofitting properties to meet efficiency targets. This is because a lot of the UK’s housing stock is old, draughty and inefficient. What does retrofitting entail and how does it affect the average home?
The average Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating in the UK is D or below for 28 million homes. By adding draughtproofing to windows and doors, LED bulbs, smart plugs, and other simple energy-saving measures, you can make quick, inexpensive improvements. The biggest gains can be found in deep retrofits, or whole house retrofits, which involve making changes to a properties fabric . With a retrofit, you can typically improve the thermal performance and comfort of your home by upgrading the fabric of the building.
Insulating a building is the most effective and quickest method of improving its thermal performance. The Installation of loft insulation is the most important part of any retrofit programme. A thicker wall from the outside is the most effective way of insulating a building, and external wall insulation involves thickening the walls from the outside and sealing the system with render or brick slip. A wall that is internally insulated is thickened from the inside. In order to minimise any gaps in insulation that could break the continuity and cause heat loss, improving airtightness is essential. After improving the fabric of your house, you could add a low-carbon heating and hot water system, as well as renewable energy sources like solar panels, heat pumps, and biomass boilers.
How much will it cost to retrofit a house?
In the long run, you will hopefully be able to recoup the costs in energy savings after retrofitting a house completely. In the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme, homeowners receive grants for installing low carbon heating systems. The scheme provides £5,000 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump or biomass boiler. £6,000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump is also provided.
Over 1000 built environment professionals work together to put the UK on a path to a zero carbon future as part of the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI). The authors say: “The retrofitting of our existing buildings is absolutely essential if we are to achieve Net Zero.” There are approximately 18% of our annual national greenhouse gas emissions coming from existing homes, which will still exist in 2050. Aside from the fact that retrofitting is something we all need to think about. Now is the perfect time to start.