Those would ensure a new kitchen or bathroom does not preclude the changes that will be needed by 2030 – or make a bad situation worse, says Robin Nicholson, fellow at Cullinan Studio
One of the biggest challenges facing many of us is how to improve our homes in an environmentally responsible way. Where do you start? Who do you ask?
We know that we can easily get a shiny new kitchen or bathroom from a specialist or builders merchant such as Travis Perkins or B&Q. This will often involve someone doing a survey then producing CAD drawings and a simulation. Installation will involve multiple trades and will almost certainly alter the internal environment and energy demand.
But inviting a stranger into our homes to tell us what to do to make it more comfortable in terms of temperature and humidity and to use less energy sounds scary and expensive. It is easier to settle for a new kitchen, but that is not helping our energy problem.
The additional cost should be marginal and implementation not mandatory
Done properly, an energy audit would create a pathway for upgrading your home, just as Parity Projects offers to local authorities (parityprojects.com/services/pathways). So why don’t we require all kitchen and bathrooms suppliers and installers to provide, within a slightly increased overall cost, a condition survey of the whole house and a strategy to enable it to become net zero in manageable stages.
The additional cost should be marginal and implementation not mandatory, but it should ensure that a new kitchen or bathroom does not preclude the changes that will be needed by 2030 – or make a bad situation worse.
Builders merchants will be able to supply the necessary materials and should be prepared to share the cost with the supplier. At least the massive process of retrofitting the nation’s homes will have begun.
Robin Nicholson is a fellow at Cullinan Studio
Ideas for positive change
This is part of our Countdown to Cop26 coverage in the lead up to the world climate conference in Glasgow in November. We will be publishing more big ideas about ways to tackle the climate emergency over the coming weeks and you can find more here.