Call for UK government to ‘accelerate retrofit projects’

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) is calling on the UK government to focus on ways to accelerate growth in retrofit projects carried out during 2024.

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) is calling on the UK government to focus on ways to accelerate growth in the number of whole-building retrofit projects carried out during 2024.

BESA says it believes that only ‘a holistic approach’ to building performance will unlock the full potential of the building services industry to cut carbon emissions, improve energy security, and reduce businesses and consumers’ bills.

Future Homes and Buildings Standards

BESA welcomed the allocation of an extra £1.5bn to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), as part of a wider £6bn push to improve building energy efficiency but said the Future Homes and Buildings Standards, due to come into force next year, should be more focused on whole building solutions.

Currently out for consultation (until 6 March), these standards would, in effect, outlaw the use of gas boilers in new homes from 2025 onwards. The Association also sought to downplay the potential of hydrogen for heating buildings saying it only had “limited feasibility” due to a range of financial and technical difficulties.

BESA technical director Graeme Fox said: “The new funding and standards are a great opportunity to cement whole building retrofit as the way forward. The debate needs to move beyond individual technologies to the holistic approaches that make the best of the practical solutions we already have.”

ESG reporting to drive demand for building energy efficiency

BESA also suggested that investment in energy efficient buildings looks set to rise. The Association said ESG (environmental, social and governance) reporting will have an impact on building energy efficiency this year as clients come under pressure to be fully transparent about their net zero strategies to bolster their corporate reputations.

In addition, all newly leased commercial buildings will need to achieve EPC ratings of C or higher from 2025 – with existing leases required to meet the same target by 2028. BESA said this could unlock greater property investment in 2024 as landlords seek to meet the deadlines.

Fox said: “2024 could be a big year for accelerating whole building retrofits to drive better energy performance, and the consultation is another opportunity for the government to send positive and supportive signals to the market. Let’s turn the Boiler Upgrade Scheme into the Building Upgrade Scheme.”

Read BESA’s full statement here.

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