Energy retrofits of existing buildings

Welcome to the first in a series of LMC video interviews and discussions with construction industry influencers, technical experts and agents of change.

Dr Peter Rickaby has over 30 years of experience as an energy and sustainability consultant in the building and housing industries, and is a very well known and well respected expert in the energy efficiency of homes.

Among his many industry roles, Peter was a director of CoRE and the National Energy Foundation and he has been the author and/or editor of a large range of technical publications and guides to energy efficiency and sustainability.

Peter was recently chair of the BSI’s Retrofit Standards Task Group. In this role, he was the technical author of PAS 2035 – the new BSI Publicly Available Specification for low energy domestic retrofit  – the latest official technical standards for specifying energy efficient improvements in our homes. He is now working with the UKCMB, the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings, at UCL.

PAS 2035 covers how to assess dwellings for retrofit, identify improvement options, design and specify energy efficiency measures and monitor retrofit projects. Such retrofits are absolutely essential to help reduce the carbon emissions from our homes and to help tackle climate change.

Originating from the work of the Each Home Counts review (which I was also involved with until August 2018), the PAS aims to establish a robust framework of standards on how to conduct effective, whole house energy retrofits of existing buildings.

PAS 2035 came into effect from June 2019 and is only really starting to be felt now. We are, as Peter says, at just the start of the journey. In time, it is expected that all ECO-funded work and all other government supported retrofit projects will require compliance with PAS 2035.

The four-year project on PAS 2035 has been a huge labour of love for Peter and his colleagues and collaborators. It was mostly unpaid work, and Peter received extensive input from all parts of the construction, energy and building services supply chain, trade bodies, certification schemes, BSI and others.

But it has also been controversial.

Much of the evidence coming from previous home improvement and energy efficiency schemes pointed to some serious flaws in the quality and effectiveness of those schemes and the need for improved technical and consumer protection standards.

But there has been resistance in some areas of the construction industry among groups who don’t see the need for change at all. And conversely, there are also many other groups of people frustrated by what feels like a very slow pace of change.

This debate continues to rumble on in parts of the trade press.

So we took the opportunity to discuss these issues with Peter.

Energy efficiency, environmental sustainability and the quality and performance of our existing building stock are all major issues which are going to remain very important for the foreseeable future. We hope you find these issues as interesting as we do.

 

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