April Webinar 7pm Tuesday 26th 2022 (UTC)

Retrofit in the UK: will we ever get a coherent national approach?

Russell Smith has been heavily involved in retrofit for a long time – from the Retrofitworks retrofit cooperative to the development of the Construction Leadership Council’s National Retrofit Strategy.  So where are we now?  Russell will provide an overview of the need for and progress towards a national retrofit programme and whether we will see a coherent national approach to solve this complex challenge.  Register in advance for this meeting - After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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Next meeting: 
26th April 7-8pm (UTC) 
Topic: Coherent National Retrofit Strategy?


Read our full report here


Architects Declare & ACAN

Support for Insulate Britain campaign

The UK’s housing stock is not fit for the climate emergency we are in, to meet the government’s own legal obligation of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 we must undertake a massive and holistic retrofit of UK homes. This has been advised in numerous reports to the Government and the UK will not meet our climate obligations without updating our buildings. It is with this understanding of the scale and severity of the problem that Architects’ Declare and the Architects Climate Action Network support the aims of the Insulate Britain Campaign.0

According to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), emissions from buildings in the UK have fallen by less than 1% per year since 2009.1 Recent extreme weather events in Britain and all over the world indicate that the long-predicted Climate Emergency is now upon us. Without rapid and far-reaching action to reduce CO2 emissions, there will be even more irreversible damage to the natural world and our ability to live within it. According to the UN Secretary-General, the IPCC’s Working Group 1 Report of August 2021 is ‘a code red for humanity’: "If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses."2

Heating our homes currently accounts for 15% of UK CO2 emissions,3 the vast majority of these homes will still be standing in 2050. To ensure our homes are capable of providing comfortable, affordable and low-carbon dwellings, whole house retrofit including insulation, ventilation and more efficient heating systems must be undertaken. This means that we need to retrofit a million homes a year for the next 29 years – this is possible, but we need to act now.

Upgrading the thermal performance of the UK’s draughty and inefficient homes is an essential part of a wider strategy to decarbonise the UK. This vital work will create tens of thousands of skilled jobs, release hundreds of thousands of people from fuel poverty and protect them from excessive heat as temperatures increase.

We need a national, government-funded programme, led by the built environment industry supporting workers and starting with the most vulnerable in our society. It must have clear objectives, appropriate methodologies and consumer guarantees. This has been necessary for decades and is only getting more urgent. The government’s own Climate Change Committee has stated that this should be “supported by the Treasury as a national infrastructure priority”.

Construction industry professionals have the knowledge, experience, skills and motivation to help make this happen today, but we need our government to support this essential work. They must ensure it is properly funded, effectively administered and that households are supported through the costs and disruption.

Decades of inadequate response and botched programmes have led us to the point where we have a daunting task ahead of us but it is not too late to fix our homes and ensure they are the healthy, climate-resilient buildings we need. Insulate Britain are demanding that this low carbon retrofitting programme is rolled out immediately and completed by 2030. We realise that it would take a huge and coordinated commitment of finances and resources from our government to do this; much like (although a lot less expensive than) their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Insulate Britain campaign is highlighting one aspect of the housing crisis in this country, the warnings have been given and the science is clear, we must act now, any more delay is simply irresponsible. The industry is ready, people are in need and the government must show the leadership necessary in this emergency.

Signed by:
The Architects' Declare Steering Group
The Architects Climate Action Network Steering Group

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1 - BEIS (2021) 2020 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions Provisional Figures quoted in

2 - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report "Today’s IPCC Working Group 1 Report is a code red for humanity," said UN Secretary-General, António


"If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success."

3 - DECC. Emissions from Heat: Statistical Summary. 1–12 (2012).


Please Sign Our Letter

Become a signatory of Insulate Britain's demands.



We, the undersigned, wish to express our support for the Insulate Britain Campaign demands 1 that the UK government immediately promises to fully fund and take responsibility for the insulation of all social housing in Britain by 2025; 2 that the UK government immediately promises to produce within four months a legally binding national plan to fully fund and take responsibility for the full low-energy and low-carbon whole-house retrofit , with no externalised costs, of all homes in Britain by 2030 as part of a just transition to full decarbonisation of all parts of society and the economy. As we are all aware the climate crisis is turning into the nightmare that scientists have predicted for over three decades. Facts are facts. Unless we take emergency action now to decarbonise we face the destruction of our economy, the natural world and our country. It amounts to the utter betrayal of our young people and future generations. We face a global catastrophe beyond our imagination. We are not signing this letter to assign blame or pass judgement. We are signing it to say we are ready to play our part. We have the knowledge, experience and skills and we have the motivation. What we need is for the government to step up. This is not about politics, it’s about coming together to prevent a catastrophe that will affect us all. The Government’s own Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has stated that this should be “supported by the Treasury as a national infrastructure priority”. As Sir David King, former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, says, “What we do, I believe, in the next three to four years will determine the future of humanity”. With the International Climate Conference COP26 being hosted by the UK in Glasgow this November the example of the UK Government will be critical. The UK has the leakiest homes in Europe. We are ready to rectify this by insulating and retrofitting Britain. In truth we have been ready for over a decade now but we cannot act without government support to provide the necessary financial and administrative support and policy stability. 40% of emissions globally come from the construction industry, to which the UK makes a significant contribution. Insulation and retrofit provide the biggest return on reducing emissions compared to any other form of investment. This will create tens of thousands of jobs, supporting the just transition of the UK to a low carbon economy. It will ease the financial burden on the 3 million households currently in fuel poverty as prices rise and protect thousands from excessive heat as temperatures rise. It is a total no-brainer. That is why we support Insulate Britain’s demands. We have no time left for procrastination. We want to get on with the job. The nation needs a national Government-funded homes upgrade programme led by the built environment industry with clear objectives, methodology, and consumer guarantees.

We are waiting for the Government to take action.

To do its job so we can do ours.

Link Sign via to Google form here