Few question the urgent need to make our existing homes, hospitals, commercial properties and offices fit for purpose in a low energy, low waste world. But can we bring it about?
The scale of the challenge is huge. It’s not just a matter of replacing windows and insulating lofts. We’ll have to assess millions of buildings, draw up action plans, negotiate leases and win planning permission. We’ll have to buy building materials and get them to the right sites. And then we’ll need skilled practioners to put it all in place.
It’s comparable to the sort of feat governments and planners only undertake when they really have to – following a major crisis, like a natural disaster. And then there’s the cost of it all. It’ll take an estimated £25,000 on average to spruce up each home, and that’s only the first round of improvements. There are huge savings to be made, but who can guarantee them? Where’s the capital going to come from? And who’s going to take the lead?
Whoever it is, they’ll be onto a winner. If you can turn draughty, damp homes and tired, inefficient offices into functional, fashionable and future-proof places to live and work, you’ll be everyone’s best friend.
This edition ‘Retro and Fit’ explores what retrofit on such a scale actually entails and showcases the best practice.