News from Rethinking Refurbishment

published: 18/10/2012

National Refurbishment Centre launches report at its Open Week event

UK-wide workshops show that better understanding of the solutions, improved collaboration, and clear standards rate high on the priorities of refurbishment professionals.

The National Refurbishment Centre’s report Refurbishing the Nation – Gathering the evidence is the product of workshops in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland between 2010 and 2012. The round-table workshops sought the opinions of 100 professionals from across the sector about current barriers and opportunities and what could be done to help deliver green refurbishment on a mass-scale.

Poor leadership, a lack of information about appropriate retrofit solutions and an unskilled workforce consistently came top of the list of barriers to a successful refurbishment drive. The workshop participants, who included refurbishment contractors, product manufacturers, local authorities, housing associations and academics, wanted better collaboration, a clearer understanding of the available solutions and better access to information. They also wanted recognised refurbishment standards, better training, and the promotion of practical and achievable solutions and stronger engagement with the supply chain.

The report, which looks at how the National Refurbishment Centre is working with refurbishment data to help industry find the solutions for a mass delivery of retrofit, also provides an overview of the UK's refurbishment landscape, including an overview of refurbishment-related policy and regulation in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Open Week
The report was launched at the National Refurbishment Centre’s Open Week (8-12 October, 2012), which gave over 250 professionals access to refurbishment best-practice exemplars managed by National Refurbishment Centre partners. Visitors were given tours of BRE’s Victorian Terrace; Gentoo’s Retrofit for the Future properties; the Centre of Refurbishment Excellence (CoRE); BASF House at the University of Nottingham; and Salford University’s Energy House. There were also presentations and case studies on different aspects of retrofit case studies, plus exhibits from National Refurbishment Centre partners.

Chris Ward-Brown, National Refurbishment Centre Chairman, said:
“The high level of interest shown at all the Open Week events, demonstrates the considerable appetite for understanding how to make the UK’s existing buildings more energy-efficient. Despite the launch of the much-anticipated Green Deal in October 2012, understanding just how to deliver a national refurbishment programme at scale still remains as elusive as ever, which is why the National Refurbishment Centre continues in its mission to be an evidence hub for industry, whether it is analysing performance data, reviewing the policy landscape across the UK, or providing a platform for the industry to meet , network and develop collaborative solutions.”

John O’Brien, Manager of the National Refurbishment Centre said:
“The round-table workshops carried out over an extended period, give an incredibly useful snapshot of the attitudes of those at the sharp end of refurbishment; it shows an industry that is keen to find ways to deliver energy-efficient refurbishment at a scale that will help the UK to cut its carbon emissions. However, a number of issues identified at the workshops make such a delivery programme difficult, chief among them being a lack of understanding of which retrofit solutions work best for each type of building. This is why the National Refurbishment Centre continues to gather information and data from hundreds of refurbishment projects to help support industry and government to develop the right strategies and products.”

Download the report.