Why we need commercial retrofit

Commercial buildings currently represent 23% of built environment carbon emissions in the UK. Securing a net zero built environment in line with the Paris Agreement cannot be achieved without addressing the operational emissions associated with this sector.  

In addition to the climate impact of commercial buildings, accelerating the pace of commercial retrofit will also be required to meet the growing demand for sustainable office space in the UK. Recent analysis from UKGBC member JLL revealed that real estate assets with stronger sustainability credentials are increasingly attracting higher capital values and rents. Furthermore, JLL note the forthcoming tightening of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) means investors are likely to consider more sustainable buildings to be less risky, and that it will pay to be on the front foot and invest in the green building sector now.  

Live Project

Closing the gap towards net zero carbon commercial retrofit

Given the scale of energy efficiency improvements required to secure a net zero built environment, and the financial value it can unlock for asset owners, UKGBC is working on a new project to deepen understanding of the carbon and cost effectiveness of different retrofit measures for commercial assets. It will explore how to overcome common challenges faced by industry, as well as expand on UKGBC’s recent guide ‘Delivering Net Zero: Key considerations for Commercial Retrofit’, clarifying how to set out retrofit strategies for different asset types and providing more detail on tangible measures.   

This research is due for publication in Autumn 2023. If you would like to receive updates about this project, please subscribe to the Advancing Net Zero mailing list. 

Key aims for this project

Our ‘closing the gap towards net zero carbon commercial retrofit’ project is focusing on:

Developing a suite of evidence

That explores the cost, operational and embodied carbon efficiency of commercial retrofit measures.

Exploring real world case studies

Understanding where retrofit measures have been effective and where lessons have been learnt.

Creating a toolkit/flowchart approach

That will help identify a series of retrofit measures required for any commercial building, regardless of age and type, prescribing them in priority order.

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Advancing Net Zero Partners

Our climate change mitigation work is made possible thanks to the generous support of our Advancing Net Zero Programme Partners

Commercial Retrofit Project Partners

Our live projects on commercial retrofit are made possible thanks to our project partners