Actuate UK puts retrofit centre-stage at COP26

Engineering services alliance, Actuate UK, has needed government and industry collaboration on the task of retrofitting and decarbonising our existing buildings.


Speaking with respect to Actuate UK at the Construction Leadership Council’s COP26 session, Michelle Agha-Hossein CEng MCIBSE, Building Performance and Soft Landings Lead at Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) said:  “THE UNITED KINGDOM government has acknowledged that the built environment should be almost completely decarbonised by 2050, and that achieving this should be through a mixture of energy efficiency measures and a transition to low carbon technologies.

“The UK gets the least energy conserving housing stock in Europe, But this isn’t an environmental issue just. For many people, high and increasing energy bills means a stark choice between eating or heating.”

Agha-Hossein was talking on what retrofit is paramount to delivering net zero carbon in the Construction Leadership Council’s session Construction: The Build Environment at COP26, today (11 November). Discussed was the significance of materials also, design and professional services.

Buildings in the united kingdom account for 23 % of total greenhouse gas emissions; 17 % which result primarily from the usage of fossil fuels for space heating and warm water production; homes tend to be more significant than all the building types come up with.

Although, constructed buildings could be more energy efficient newly, partly because of the recent adoption of the “fabric first” approach, today it’s still used in 2050 80 % of buildings that people have. So, the priority is decarbonising our existing stock and retrofitting around 28 million homes.

Agha-Hossein, a chartered engineer herself, stressed the significance of the sector to solving the retrofit challenge. She said: “Retrofitting can not only have environmental benefits but additionally social gains once we must be sure decarbonising buildings will optimise occupant safety, comfort and health. That’s where building services engineers shall play a pivotal role.”

She added: will undoubtedly be challenges “There, which range from financial barriers, skill gaps, and dependence on a cultural change in the true way we design, deliver, and use our buildings. But we have been making progress to handle these. Actuate UK is really a bridge between policy makers, who set targets, and professional engineers who make an effort to deliver those targets.”

Actuate UK supports the Construction Leadership Council’s Domestic Retrofit Strategy and members of the alliance are engaged in coordinated and comprehensive action on climate change, for example under CIBSE’s Climate Change Action Plan3, and so are already producing guidance to members including BSRIA’s upcoming illustrated guide to renewable energy technologies.

Actuate UK happens to be mapping the green skills had a need to support net and retrofit zero agendas, with two of its members (BESA and FETA/HPA) already developing and delivering courses on new heating technologies.

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