Connected Places Catapult examines how to retrofit homes at speed

Connected Places Catapult (CPC) has assessed the challenges and opportunities facing the industry if a retrofit is to be rolled out cost-effectively in volume and at speed.

On 31 January, it published a report, Retrofit: Towards a Sector-Wide Roadmap 2020, the second in a series of reports exploring how the UK will need to scale deep retrofit for its homes to be net zero by 2050. It explained that a deep retrofit programme, upgrading the entire UK housing stock to be fit for the future, is worth pursuing and would avoid £35bn per year in costs, grow the low carbon economy and open up a large deep retrofit export market.

The report identified the key changes required by both buyers and sellers to open up the market, before identifying four actions that could bridge the gap. For buyers, there must be confidence solutions can be delivered; information and knowledge; policy and regulation drivers; a good business case to invest; and an offer tailored to their needs. For sellers, there needs to be a sustainable market; information and evidence; policy and regulation drivers; providing guaranteed performance; and better supply chain skills.

The first of the four proposals to bridge the gap was the launch of a national housing stock database, leading to impacts such as efficiency and productivity gains in the retrofit industry and innovation. The report explained that a common evidence base would show which solutions work under what circumstances, meaning that from this, innovators could create novel solutions. The creation of a replicable, integrated interventions through a retrofit kit, meanwhile, would bring improvements in speed, cost and reliability of retrofit, leading to increased carbon savings. The increased speed and reliability would boost consumer confidence in retrofit solutions and subsequently drive demand.

Elsewhere, exploration of mass customisation of standard solutions to fit the UK’s housing stock could lead to impacts of efficiency, productivity and local supply chains, as well as the creation of a skills base and reduced cost per unit. The report also proposed devising a finance platform to create standardised contracts and match projects and funders. This would lead to improved understanding of the business case for social landlords, improved access to finance for retrofitting firms and an investable proposition for international finance.