Is it time for Building Companies to Retrofit?
With the effects of climate change becoming more severe, this has accelerated the need for homeowners across the UK to rely on building companies to help deliver retrofit projects in an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making existing homes greener and more energy-efficient.
Why is Retrofit needed?
Residential houses use up about 35% of all the energy in the UK and are responsible for 20% of all carbon dioxide emissions. In addition to this, the UK has some of the oldest housing stock in Europe with the majority being very inefficient. Some of the benefits of domestic retrofitting include:
- Improving the energy efficiency of homes leading to lower individual energy bills and a reduction of national energy consumption.
- Improved comfort since drafty rooms in winter and hot rooms in summer are often due to air leaks and defective insulation.
- Greater building durability and higher resale value.
- Lower carbon footprint helping to mitigate climate change.
The Government’s response
Carrying out retrofit projects on all these homes whilst trying to meet up with the Government’s targets of a 68% emissions reduction by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 is certainly going to be a herculean task to be accomplished by building companies.
The UK’s Government introduced a £1.5bn Green Homes Fund in September 2020, designed to help eligible homeowners make energy-efficient improvements in their homes. This fund was to help cover two-thirds of the cost of improvements, up to £5,000 or up to £10,000 for low-income homeowners. This national retrofit scheme was planned to run until March 2022 and required eligible homeowners to have completed improvements in their homes before this date in order to benefit from the fund.
The resulting growth of the Retrofit market
As expected, the cumulative demand from homeowners and the introduction of the Green Homes Fund by the government led to considerable growth of the home retrofit market, thereby highlighting the need for qualified building companies to successfully deliver these projects. Contracting companies can also take advantage of the expansion of entry requirements by the CIOB to certify individuals working in the retrofit sector.
However, debates have started as it was recently announced that the government would claw back most of the £1.5bn funds for retrofitting homes. This is due to the fact that only 5% of this fund has been utilised as of the end of January. It was revealed that the unspent money from the fund won’t be carried over but will be replaced by a £320m funding pot despite the scheme being plagued by reports of delays to applications from householders and payments to contractors.
Considering all the benefits of retrofitting as well as the dire need to respond to climate change, there have been calls for an expansion of the Green Homes Grant and for the government to make good on their promise. A bold and long-term retrofit strategy has been called upon since some building companies do not consider a short-term scheme to be a strong impetus to invest time and money seeking accreditation and certification for installer status.
Jerram Falkus – Your next construction company
Climate change affects everyone. This means we all have a responsibility to respond in a way that will make our environment greener. Jerram Falkus is an experienced family-run building company that takes this task seriously as evidenced by these sustainable construction projects – Cannock Mill Cohousing and St Benedict’s School, New Ark.
Looking for the ideal construction contractors to work on your project? Get in touch with us for more information.