Government rethinks retrofitting old buildings

‘Responsible retrofit report’ can be downloaded from the link below.

The Department for Energy & Climate Change is advocating a new approach to retrofitting traditional buildings following new research by the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA), whose members include historic buildings and mainstream construction groups. The report calls for an overhaul of the retrofitting process to maximise the effectiveness of sustainability improvements to buildings built before 1919, which account for a quarter of the UK housing stock.

In response to the findings, the Government is committed to rewriting industry best practice. This includes further research and a new retrofit guidance tool specifically for traditional buildings developed by STBA.

One of the key findings is that traditional buildings often perform consistently better in terms of heat loss through the fabric than stated in standard models and assessment methods. It was also found that traditional buildings required different assessment procedures and measures for the control of moisture.

There is also a significant lack of available research for the energy performance of traditional buildings, occupant behaviour, overheating, indoor air quality and ventilation rates. The effect is to make it almost impossible to predict the impact of retrofit programmes, which may also miss the opportunity for more effective measures.

Welcoming the report, Energy Minister Greg Barker said, ‘We are working closely with the STBA to develop the new guidance tools, which will maximise the benefit of retrofit programmes. The Green Deal will pave the way for one of the biggest retrofit programmes in our history, helping to make our buildings more energy efficient.’

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