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Retrofit of existing buildings is 'best path to net zero' © Priva

13 February 2020 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal


Retrofitting existing buildings is the best way to support the journey to ‘net zero’, according to an equipment company responding to the government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’s report. 


At the moment, it is cheaper – for tax reasons – to knock down a building and rebuild it rather than retrofit it, even though the former may be more environmentally intensive. 


The report says, “the greenest building is the one that is already built” – and it highlights that as the built environment sector is currently responsible for up to 40 per cent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions, more must be done to encourage greener practices.


The report states: “It is desirable to make better use of existing buildings in city centres given not only the colossal challenges facing traditional urban-based business but critically the need to better use finite natural resources. We want to dispel the perception that renovation represents poor value for money in comparison with demolition and reconstruction.”


Priva, a Dutch company that sells equipment and software for climate and process management in horticulture and buildings, argues that it is essential that there is a major shift in thinking and policy towards reuse, refurbishment and retrofit of the existing building stock.


Gavin Holvey, Priva’s UK & Ireland sales manager, said: “We can make so much more of the buildings we already have. With the addition – or upgrade of – building control systems and other energy efficiency measures, we can help to bring older buildings in line with the performance of modern structures. Building from scratch is carbon intensive – we must therefore think smarter about approaches to the reuse and greening of our building stock.”