Expert claims £13.5bn-a-year spend needed to reduce carbon footprint of completed stock

A sustainable expert today put a huge price tag, £13.5bn a year, on retrofitting the existing housing stock to reduce its carbon footprint.

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Speaking at the Ecobuild conference yesterday Paul Ruyssevelt, a director at Energy for Sustainable Development, said his firm had worked out that to reduce emissions from existing houses by 60% by 2050 we would have to refurbish 450,000 of them a year. This would amount to £445bn over 33 years.

Ruyssevelt's firm has come up with a package of measures to achieve this reduction called Generation Homes. This currently costs £25-30K for a standard semi-detached house, he said. "At the moment it's quite expensive." Responding to a question after his speech he added: "That (£13.5bn figure) is not affordable in present terms. We need to refine the solutions to make them more affordable."

Ruyssevelt said that he was lobbying the Government to take the issue of refurbishing existing stock seriously. "We are not asking for the Government to spend this money. But we think they should support a demonstration project that involves the private sector, housing associations and a lot of players in the construction industry. This would give them the confidence to take this issue foward. We don't have a clear yes to that but it seems that they are recognising this issue."

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