Why the UK Needs a Retrofit Revolution
Kas Mohammed, VP of Digital Energy at Schneider Electric UK & Ireland, comments on the annual report of independent statutory body, The Climate Change Committee (CCC), to the United Kingdom Parliament.
Today’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) 2021 Progress Report to Parliament acts as yet another reminder that we are running out of time in the war on climate change. In particular, the progress made in decarbonising buildings is concerningly sluggish. The CCC report shows the UK’s stark lack of progress in buildings efficiency.
Our buildings account for almost 40 per cent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions and represent perhaps the single greatest opportunity for decarbonisation. Whilst newly constructed buildings are more energy-efficient, these cannot be our sole focus. Going forward, the retrofit revolution must be a key priority.
The UK has one of the oldest building stocks in the EU, with 80 per cent of the buildings standing in 2050 already having been built today. Retrofitting our existing buildings has the greatest scope for decarbonising the UK building stock and bringing us closer to Net Zero with a single action. We must take the buildings of today, and make them digital buildings of the future.
Digital retrofitting is the process of connecting all the things that use energy in a building so that they can communicate with one another. This enables them to be controlled remotely, autonomously or via artificial intelligence, switching off heating, cooling, or lighting when rooms aren’t occupied, monitoring temperatures to create optimal environments, and warning building managers when adjustment or maintenance is needed.
The level of insight digital retrofitting brings allows us to build a benchmark of current energy usage and improve it over time. That is why the digitisation of our buildings must be the first move on the road to net-zero – simply put, we cannot improve what we don’t understand.