If governments want to reach emission reduction targets for housing stock, older homes will have to undergo retrofits to meet the new standards. That will be a formidable challenge as a 2019 report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) about the United Kingdom’s campaign to hit net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 deemed many houses there as “not fit for the future.”
Going forward, the U.K.’s 29 million existing homes would have to “be made low carbon, low-energy and resilient to a changing climate.” That means that the retrofitting of existing homes will be an important tool in the years ahead. Just this week, major utility Engie released information on what it described as “a whole house retrofit solution” to lower both carbon emissions and utility bills. Called Engie Zero, the initiative is based on the idea that clients — housing associations, local authorities, and registered providers of housing — can use the scheme to integrate a range of customizable features to their buildings.
As for new construction, the CCC report contends that these buildings would have to be low-carbon, energy and water efficient, and climate resilient. “The costs of building to a specification that achieves the aims set out in this report are not prohibitive, and getting design right from the outset is vastly cheaper than forcing retrofit later,” the paper added.