During the cost-of-living crisis that we currently find ourselves in a key contributor to household outgoings is energy bills. Retrofitting housing can assist in reducing these bills. The interventions do not necessarily have to be invasive; even small improvements can help.
A key measure of the performance of our housing is an EPC which is essentially an energy rating for our homes. The majority of the UK housing stock is rated in Band D and there are government targets to improve housing stock to Band C. This change could save up to £1,000 on energy bills for the year which is a significant figure. Is the upgrade cost worth it? For the average household that stays put for 18.7 years, the answer is yes with an average payback of 12.7 years.
There are two ways to reduce bills through retrofitting; the first is undertaking works to reduce energy usage and the other is to introduce technologies that generate energy. This can be as small as fitting draught excluders to windows or as large as fitting a ground source heat pump. Each intervention will have its own cost and payback period. The important point is that each house has its own character and certain retrofit solutions will suit certain properties. A thorough analysis of heat loss and the fabric of the existing property is a vital first step to ensure the solutions are suitable.
Obviously, these interventions do have a cost and there is £179 million available to Registered Providers to improve EPC ratings. There are also other initiatives such as ‘green’ loans and energy export deals. For the individual, there are green deals and the upcoming ECO scheme to support those most in need.
If possible, it would be great to include accessibility upgrades at the same time. Can doors be widened if upgrading the thermal performance of doors to allow better access to the home? A holistic approach to retrofitting can also help to solve the issue of the lack of accessible housing.
With many people facing increasing energy bills retrofitting can help, even if interventions are only small.
For further details on how retrofitting can help reduce energy bills please view the presentation and download the slides given by Design Director, Mark Slater as part of the Housing LIN HAPPI Hour series.