A collaboration between dozens of local and municipal authorities and sustainability organisations has set out a new approach to measure the economic and technical value of retrofitting buildings

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has published a framework intended to support authorities to better understand and measure the impact of built environment retrofit projects.

15 different indicators are used within the recently published Build Upon Framework to consider the value of retrofitting work in buildings at a city or local authority level in a more standardised way.

This includes looking at factors linked to the economic, environmental and social benefits of ensuring better thermal comfort and efficiency improvements in buildings. The document has been published in collaboration with a range of organisations including the World Green Building Council, Climate Alliance and the Buildings Performance Institute Europe.

The UKGBC said that the measurements included would be important to track how effective renovation schemes are with regard to managing air quality, summer and winter thermal comfort, as well as reductions in CO2 emissions and energy demand.

The creation of more standardised modelling is also intended to allow for formal best practice guidance to be created to inform and scale-up retrofit projects focused on decarbonising buildings over the next three decades.

Local authority support

A coalition of organisations representing more than 30 city and local government authorities from across Europe helped create the framework.  This includes Leeds City Council and Essex Country Council.

Simon McWhirter, communications director of policy and places as the UKGBC, said that the built environment was responsible for roughly a quarter of the UK’s total carbon footprint. Efforts to ensure more efficient buildings across the country were therefore seen as a vital component to help the UK meet its legal target of creating a net zero economy by 2050, according to Mr McWhirter.

He said, “Building renovation can deliver a triple win for local communities – not only can it deliver significant carbon reductions, but it can also boost local economies through job creation as well as deliver health and wellbeing benefits through improving the quality of our homes – making them warmer, more comfortable and cheaper to run.”

“Through optimising the use of high-quality impact data, this framework seeks to support local government in tracking the effectiveness of renovation schemes and ultimately scale up the many benefits wide-scale renovation can bring to communities.”

George Munson, senior project manager of sustainable energy and air quality with Leeds City Council, welcomed the publication of the framework.

He said, “We’re working to see how it can be implemented in Leeds to help gather data on the multiple benefits of retrofit projects – ultimately, we hope to use it to provide a strong evidence base to help government understand the true value of low carbon investment, particularly in some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in the country.”


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