Currently, around a quarter of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from the domestic housing stock. Furthermore, it has been estimated that £1 in every £4 spent on heating in the UK is wasted. Community retrofit projects have the potential to reduce the amount of energy wasted and therefore reduce carbon emissions from homes.
Improving the energy efficiency of homes is an important step in meeting the UK’s legally binding target of reducing emissions by 80%, from the 1990 level, by 2050. In 2014 the average Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) score was 61, rising from 45 in 1996. In a study by Affinity Sutton it has been estimated that increasing the average EPC score of the UK’s social housing stock to 74 (a 21% increase from 2014) via energy efficiency measures could save 3MtCO2 annually.
As less than 1-2% of building stock is new build each year and an estimated 70% of the 2010 building stock will still be around in 2050, it is important to carry out energy efficiency measures on existing homes. Simple retrofit measures can save significant amounts of carbon and reduce the amount of energy wasted in the home, making steps towards reaching Government Emission Targets.
There are many real life projects that demonstrate these carbon emission reductions from retrofit. Between 2011 and 2012 Vital Energi helped to retrofit three 1950s-build estates in Shoreditch. The project replaced old and inefficient boilers, in 464 properties, with Hackney’s council owned Combined Heat and Power plant via a district heating system. Replacing these boilers across the three estates resulted in annual CO2 savings of 1,200 tonnes per year, equivalent to removing 227 cars from the road annually.
Retrofit projects that reduce carbon emissions from domestic homes can benefit many groups of people. Firstly, households and individuals will spend less on their energy bills and have warmer homes resulting in monetary savings and better health. Local communities benefit from cleaner air which improves health and wellbeing, in turn reducing public spending on health.
Energy retrofit projects can save significant carbon emissions as well as improving the health and wellbeing of residents. Have you heard of any retrofit projects that are saving carbon? Let us know and join in the discussion.
To read more about Vital Energi’s retrofit projects visit: https://www.vitalenergi.co.uk/casestudies/shoreditch-heat-network/#casestudy-overview
SmartKlub is publishing a series of blogs on the benefits of community-led energy efficiency programmes. Read about an inspiring case study in Nottingham, find out more about our work with the UKGBC’s task group, learn more about the health benefits of retrofit, the NHS savings, energy bill savings and employment opportunities that can be made.