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15 Mar 2024 < Back

FutureBuild focuses on retrofit

Part of the role of a trade association is to provide some foresight to our members on changes that may affect them and the construction industry more broadly. The FutureBuild conference has generally provided a small glimpse into what may be coming down the track. 

The big focus at this year’s event was energy efficiency, carbon emissions and retrofit. In previous years it may have felt that the solution was we were all going to be living in huts made of straw and mud, but this year thankfully felt a little more pragmatic. A few of the more interesting exhibitors even provided solutions for atmospheric monitoring, airtightness as well as moisture management.

Bringing 18,000 policymakers, designers and construction professionals together

Focusing back on retrofit, statistics from 2022 show that the residential sector accounted for 26% of all carbon emissions in the UK. Many of these emissions due to poorly insulated homes. This year’s event was designed to bring together almost 18,000 policymakers, design and construction professionals; primarily to discuss how UK’s homes can be retrofitted better to meet targets. Presentations demonstrated how we can deliver a more sustainable future. But equally, there was also a lot of rhetoric around how we are on the verge of missing our chance and that net zero is not a solution that goes far enough.

What is the Government doing about it

The Government continues to support the decarbonisation of residencies by providing funding to support the installation of energy efficiency measures. Currently, it offers funding for local authorities to support Home Upgrades however, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announced that from 2025, a further upgrade scheme will be introduced to support low-income households to tackle fuel poverty, whilst helping the UK to achieve its net zero goals.

Members need to be part of the conversation

Our members are often the first to deal with property maintenance issues, particularly the fabric first approach, such as installing insulation whilst addressing a roof timber issue.

There is a need for our members to remain engaged with the retrofit agenda. In part to ensure our members have the opportunity to undertake relevant work and also to ensure and that there are no unintended consequences of retrofit measures being installed, such as damp and mould developing due to a lack of ventilation.

Some final thoughts about FutureBuild

We feel confident that the association and its members will have to play a role, whether through pre installation checks or remediation. We have the skills and understanding to help deliver.

As a result of this, both James Berry and Sarah Garry will be representing members as part of the National Retrofit Hub working groups. Here we can ensure our members’ views are represented and that potential unintended consequences are considered as part of both the whole house and fabric first approach.

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