Whole house retrofit and the journey to net zero carbon


Ahead of our webinar on retrofit, Trustmark shares this advice on whole house retrofit and why built environment professionals need to take a fabric-first approach.

In an attempt to decrease the impact that the UK has on climate change, the government set targets back in 2019 to reduce emissions by pledging to be a zero-carbon country by 2050. It is evident that significant improvements need to be made, including improving the energy efficiency of homes that already exist as well as planning for future properties.

It is estimated that as of July 2019 only 30% of homes meet the target of an EPC rating of C leaving two-thirds of UK properties failing on energy efficiency targets. Approximately 24 million homes across the UK need retrofitting, made low carbon, low-energy and help address climate change.

Whole House Retrofit is a complete approach to making properties more energy-efficient, focusing on the fabric of the house first including, but not limited to:

  • Walls
  • Roofs
  • Floors
  • Windows
  • Doors

By considering a whole house approach, these improvements will encourage healthier and more comfortable homes. It is because of this that it is important that homeowners understand the condition of their property as well as the environment and construction.

If we are to achieve energy-efficient homes fit for the future, we must radically improve existing properties across the UK, so they will be more liveable and comfortable for residents. TrustMark is working with the government and industry through new legislation and standards to secure quality improvements across the country.

As of January 2020, the new regulations under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO3) requires for any business carrying out ECO energy improvements to be registered with TrustMark (through one of its Scheme Providers) and working under the requirements of the TrustMark Framework Operating Requirements (FOR). ECO3 is the government’s programme to make all UK properties more energy efficient, focusing on low-income homes or those living in fuel poverty – an estimated 6.5 million homes. The most common energy efficiency measures available through ECO include insulation, cavity wall insulation, solid wall insulation and boiler replacement or repair.

ECO3 is designed to improve quality standards across the energy sector and give consumers a higher level of confidence and protection when having work carried out in and around their home.

TrustMark Registered Businesses are required to lodge ECO3 work into the TrustMark Data Warehouse in order to help develop a repository of data of energy efficiency measures carried out in UK properties.

Back in July and similar to ECO3, the government announced a £2bn Green Homes Grant that is set to improve the efficiency of around 600,000 homes. Later this month, homeowners and landlords can apply for the government’s grant to put towards the cost of energy efficiency improvements to their property – the maximum contribution will be £5000, or for those on lower incomes, a 100% grant up to £10,000 will be available for certain work. Householders will benefit from having a warmer home that costs less to heat.

The home energy-saving improvements carried out under the new Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme must be completed by a TrustMark Registered Business giving householders quality assurance.

For the UK to achieve its target of reaching net-zero carbon by 2050, the energy efficiency of properties needs to improve and is vital in the Whole House Retrofit approach.

It is important that a property is looked at holistically. We must start the delivery of a ‘whole house approach’ and looking at the ‘fabric first’ so that we can address the overall efficiency of the building before looking at the heating services. Through a whole house approach, a property owner can determine what measures are needed for optimising home energy efficiency and ensuring the best value for money.

The Green Homes Grant is a key part to the government’s plan to build back greener and support the transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Just like the families that live in them, each home is unique. A healthy home can improve the health and well-being of the individuals living in the property, reduce maintenance and energy bills, whilst potentially increasing the property’s value.

Through Whole House Retrofit, the household will not only unlock unexpected health and financial benefits but will also help address the climate emergency the world is facing.

For more info visit trustmark.org.uk


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