19 Aug 2021

Industry leaders call on Government for 'retrofit revolution' to hit crucial 2050 net-zero targets

  • 13 leaders from across the housing, construction, financial services and energy sectors call for urgent government action to create a long-term funded strategy to green homes
  • Collective action and shared ambitions are essential to make progress on the issue of our time
  • Seven critical areas identified which are necessary to unlock the action required to fully decarbonise UK’s homes by 2050

Leaders from across the housing, construction, financial services and energy sectors have today joined forces in calling on the government to urgently develop a national retrofit strategy for the UK’s homes or risk falling missing its 2050 Net Zero targets.

Despite Britain’s 29 million homes producing around 15 per cent of the UK’s emissions, 60 per cent of consumers don’t think their energy consumption at home has much of an impact on emissions1. Many cannot afford the cost of making their homes energy-efficient, or don’t know how. Ensuring people have the confidence and ability to make green improvements to their homes – creating a green housing revolution – is vital to tackle climate change.

Collective action is needed to get Britain ready – which is why 13 organisations have called on the government to help.  Convened by Nationwide Building Society, the signatories are: British Gas, Energiesprong UK, E.ON, The Federation of Master Builders, Igloo Regeneration, Legal and General Modular Homes, Midas Group Ltd,  Nationwide Building Society, Professor Tadj Oreszczyn of the UCL Energy Institue, Rockwool UK, Smart Metering Systems, Switchd, and Trustmark.  

The organisations have identified seven guiding principles needed for a national retrofit strategy in order to remove the main barriers to change at scale, and to encourage greener homes.

  1. Build green homes for the future now: Government must work hand-in-hand with industry to establish a roadmap to bringing the Future Homes Standard implementation forward. Just a fraction of new builds are currently built to EPC A standard. Until this changes, we are still building new homes that are not fit for the future.
  2. Create new jobs in green retrofitting: At present there aren’t enough skilled installers and tradespeople to retrofit all the nation’s homes. However, the construction sector cannot upskill until there is established demand. Government must work with industry to help stimulate demand and to create an ambitious skills strategy, which will provide good quality jobs across the UK.
  3. Make it fairly financed: Government could encourage consumers via a long-term commitment, including supplementary grant funding as a stimulus, and, critically, should help those who simply cannot afford to pay.
  4. Make property fit for the future: It is time for the EPC to become a ‘living document’, akin to a building passport, that reflects changes made to the home.   
  5. Support green homes with green power: Great strides have been made in the decarbonisation of UK energy, and we keenly anticipate the release of the Heat and Buildings Strategy. Clean energy and heat are a key to any national retrofit strategy.
  6. Regulate green retrofitting: Consumers need faith in the quality of the work if they are to retrofit. The government should regulate to ensure that all installers undertaking ‘green home’ retrofits are Trustmark certified and compliant with PAS standards.
  7. A public information campaign that inspires: Inertia and misinformation is rife regarding green. It’s time for an inspirational public information campaign that helps people understand what is possible for their home

Claire Tracey, Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Making our 29 million homes greener is one of the most pressing issues of our time: buildings are the second largest source of carbon emissions in the UK. Nationwide is committed to sustainable housing, and we are working on this with the housing, energy and construction industries, on behalf of our members. But we need government support, too.

“Together, we are asking the government to create a national retrofitting strategy that ensures the UK’s Paris Agreement commitments can be met. Anything less and we risk not only missing our climate targets, but also missing an opportunity to achieve higher-quality housing, lower energy bills, and new green jobs for the whole of the UK”. 

Notes to editors

Statistical Info

 1Nationwide’s Future of Home report: https://www.nationwidemediacentre.co.uk/future-of-society/future-of-home

About Nationwide’s Net Zero delivery

As well as joining the UN-backed Net Zero Banking Alliance, Nationwide is using its expertise, partnerships, and innovation to help make millions of existing homes greener, more sustainable and fit for the future. This includes making £1 billion loan fund available for borrowers to reduce the carbon footprint of their homes and kickstart green home improvements and retrofitting. Nationwide is also part-way through delivering an ambitious plan to create one of Britain’s largest energy-efficient communities – where all the 239 homes are being built to leading environmental standards. The Society hopes this new approach to creating community-focused, more environmentally-friendly homes will be the start of a blueprint for newbuild homes across the UK. Nationwide is sharing all of their learnings and plans from this development in order to help create positive change.