UK comes fourth in index of G20 countries but lagging

The UK is not refurbishing its building stock quickly enough and is putting net zero targets signed under the Paris Agreement at risk, according to a sustainability consultancy.

The Global Retrofit Index, carried out by 3Keel for insulation firm Kingspan, put the UK in fourth position in its league table of G20 countries, but found that none were on track to meet Paris goals.


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Sustainability advisors 3Keel say urgent action on retrofit is needed if the goals agreed in Paris are to be met

Roughly 80% of buildings that will be standing in 2050 have already been built and, according to the International Energy Agency, 20% of these buildings will need to be retrofit by 2030 if global climate goals are to be met.

Despite being near the top of the table, the UK’s 52.8/100 score puts its retrofit strategy in the “insufficient”. No countries were considered “sufficient” and only Germany was classed as “almost sufficient”.

The report said that “rapid decarbonisation” of the UK’s electricity supply had helped the country make progress on indirect building emissions, but that less had been achieved on emissions from fuel combustion in buildings.

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It said that the UK had made “some important commitments to improving energy efficiency in buildings and eliminating gas boilers”, but that there was “much room for improvement”.

Report author Michael Lord of 3Keel said the findings showed the urgent need for “ambitious government action” to support the building and construction sector.

“To achieve the level of reduction needed, the energy performance of existing building stock will need to be significantly improved and deep energy retrofits needed to achieve the deep cut in emissions we must make,” he added.