Why retrofit your home?

New homes are usually built to high energy efficiency standards. They are cosy in the winter and don’t cost a lot to heat. But older homes can be draughty and energy bills often soar in colder months.

Add to this the challenge of climate change. The UK’s 29 million homes are responsible for around 14% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions. So, in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and tackle climate change, almost all housing needs some form of retrofit.

What is retrofit?

When a home is retrofitted, changes are made to increase its energy efficiency. That might include fitting solid wall or loft insulation; installing new windows or doors; improving the heating system; adding draught-proofing or putting in new ventilation or solar panels. There are a wide range of options available.

Some people retrofit their homes in stages, others in one ‘big bang’. We recommend taking a ‘whole-house approach’, whether you’re doing it all in one go or step-by-step. This means making changes in a joined-up way, considering the junctions between measures and thinking about the potential impact of works on each other and the whole home. Taking this approach can help you to avoid unintended consequences and the need for re-work. It can also support your home in becoming ‘zero carbon ready’.

What difference can retrofit make?

The impact of improvements can be huge. In a previous retrofit programme run by Carbon Co-op, householders told us that retrofitting had made their homes feel more modern and attractive. They thought that the works felt like an investment in their properties.

They also said it had improved health conditions such as allergies, asthma and eczema, as well as their own mental health and wellbeing. We heard that they enjoyed spending more time at home and felt happier with their property.

Householders told us that their energy bills had reduced by an average of £600 per year. They reported that their homes were cosier, they heated up quicker and cooled more slowly. Air quality improved and chilly, unloved rooms were warm and well-used again.

You don’t find yourself grabbing a sweater quite as often and knowing you are saving energy and saving money is obviously a pleasant feeling.

Dom McCann, Prestwich

The mechanical ventilation heat recovery system has led to, definitely, a massive improvement in the air quality. Neither of us sneeze and we don’t have those problems anymore.

Gervase Mangwana, Chorlton

The house maintains its heat….the heating’s on really, really low and I have a wood burning stove as well but I haven’t put that on for quite a period of time because, realistically, I don’t actually need it.

Ed Sheehy, Eccles

The thing that we really weren’t expecting is the acoustic improvement. We have a little girl and in the last year nights and sleeping has been priority number one and the windows have helped to cut out the extra noise of cars and other things from the outside.

Lorenza & Paul, South Manchester

We now have a more comfortable house. There was a big reduction in how much gas and electric we used.

Michael & Rachel, Bolton

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