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Thu, 9 July 2020

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The UK requires a retrofitting revolution

National Federation of Builders | National Federation of Builders

3 min read Member content

The UK has some of the least energy efficient housing in Europe and that must change. With new homes saving on average £555 a year on energy bills and using two thirds less energy, it’s clear we need a revolutionary and sustained retrofitting programme, says NFB.


Members of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) and House Builders Association (HBA) have a strong history of stimulating green policies. From installing renewables and building energy efficient housing with British made products, to supporting biodiversity policy and writing low carbon reports, we’ve always recognised the need for a sustainable future.

However, with more than five million UK homes without cavity walls, almost five million built before 1919 and around 18 million built without insulation, the retrofit housing challenge is colossal.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “The UK has some of the least energy efficient housing in Europe and that must change. With new homes saving on average £555 a year on energy bills and using two thirds less energy, it’s clear we need a revolutionary and sustained retrofitting programme.”

Following on from our low carbon construction report and as the installation supply chain, we are opening ourselves up to the widerindustry to come together and highlight all the solutions and barriers to a retrofitting revolution.”

The table below examples some of the challenges homeowners and builders face.

Solutions

Approx.Cost

Planning permission required

External insulation

From £8,000

No, unless building materials are different

Raise roof to install insulation

From £15,000

Yes

Roof insulation

From £285

No

New, more energy efficient roof

From £5,000

Not if tiles are being replaced ‘like for like’

Cavity wall insulation

From £330

No

Solar/thermal panels

From £4,000

No, unless on listed buildings/in conservation zones

Single wind turbine

From £2,000

Sometimes. Yes when on listed buildings/in conservation zones

Ground/air source heat pumps

From  £6,000

No, unless on listed buildings/in conservation zones

Damp proofing

From £200

No, unless building a basement or on listed buildings/in conservation zones

New windows

From £300 per window

No, unless on listed buildings/in conservation zones

Reduce draughts

From £200

No

Install underfloor heating

From £1,500

No

Programmable thermostat

From £150

No

Replace lightbulbs for energy efficient ones

From £3

No

Change boiler

From £1,400

No

Smart meters

Free

No

Block chimney

From £75

No

Deep retrofit (eg-EnerPHit)

From £16,000

Yes

Correct flushing of radiators

From £250

No

Electric vehicle charging point

From £1000

Typically not

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing at the HBA, said: “There are many things we should be looking at that wouldn’t require public funding, such as simplified planning processes for retrofit projects, longer lasting permissions to allow homeowners time to save for upgrades, and cutting VAT on refurbishment. We could even allow homebuyers to claim back stamp duty on retrofitted works.

With the 2020 budget fast approaching, the Government has a great opportunity to signal its ambition and push us closer to meeting our climate targets. They must engage with industry to find out how that’s possible.”

The NFB’s report, ‘Transforming Construction for a Low Carbon Future’ can be downloaded here

Read the most recent article written by National Federation of Builders - Chancellor unveils wage rescue package

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