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Industry groups launch National Retrofit Hub

6 Mar 23 Several construction industry organisations have joined forces to create a new National Retrofit Hub to promote best practice among builders repairing old homes.

The National Retrofit Hub was launched in London on 1st March
The National Retrofit Hub was launched in London on 1st March

The National Retrofit Hub is an attempt to ensure the construction industry is able to deliver the nationwide programme of work needed to fit heat pumps, solar panels, double glazing and other carbon reducing/energy saving measures.

The National Retrofit Hub (NRH) is backed by more than 40 organisations including the Federation of Master Builders, Innovate UK, TrustMark, Sustainable Development Foundation and the UK Green Building Council.

It is chaired by architect Lynne Sullivan, who is a board member of the Passivhaus Trust and the Construction Leadership Council’s Green Construction Board. She is also chair of the Good Homes Alliance. She said: “The UK has the oldest and leakiest housing stock in Europe. The current energy crisis has shown that most of our existing homes are very expensive to heat because they are poorly insulated. There is now an urgent need to reduce energy consumption and the most effective way to do this is to make our existing homes more energy efficient by ensuring they are retrofitted, to a standard suitable for low carbon heating systems.

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“The creation of the National Retrofit Hub is a means to bring clarity to those who work in the retrofit sector by signposting and sharing best practice to speed up the roll out of greener homes.  Creating the hub will cement links with the finance community and the skills providers to enable locally based delivery programmes to be scaled up and deliver significant economic and social benefits.”

Construction Leadership Council deputy chair Richard Robinson, who is also chief executive of consulting engineer Atkins, said: “This is an important moment in the UK’s journey to net zero. NRH is an industry response to a very real need. Delivery of retrofit at scale is a fiendishly complex task, and we need to close the knowledge gap and provide sector support to get this off the ground. Now is the time for the industry to step up and define the technical solutions, give government the collateral it needs, help consumers understand their options and identify a combined public and private sector roadmap to fund and regulate our way to healthier, warmer, greener homes. I look forward to the NRH making this a reality.”

Interim director of the National Retrofit Hub is Russell Smith,  a civil engineer who runs a housing retrofit business in London. He said: “The key parts of the National Retrofit Hub are the interlocking components from the national retrofit strategy, critical elements that we need in order to make retrofit happen at scale, accurately and quickly. Any policy, initiative or new scheme over the past few years has probably tried to do one or two of the components, but not all of them. We want the NRH’s working groups to map existing activities and identify gaps, so that we can use resources wisely and make sure we’re moving forwards quickly and accurately.”

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