Researchers call for a Housing Retrofit Technical Task Force to maximise and optimise the net zero outcomes for homes in Scotland. Professor Sean Smith, Director of the Centre for Future Infrastructure at EFI, led the publication on the establishment of a task force to retrofit housing and meet Scotland’s ambitious net zero targets.
Influencing Scotland’s strategy
The Scottish Government’s recently published new strategy proposals, developed by researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Futures Institute, support the technical design, energy performance targets and net zero housing objectives of net zero.
Professor Smith’s proposed roadmap and retrofit steering group proposals have been included in the Scottish Government strategy document ‘Achieving Net Zero in Social Housing’.
Meeting ambitious climate targets
To meet the ambitious 2045 targets, Scotland needs to upgrade and retrofit approximately 2.6 million homes, potentially 113,000 homes each year. For the 2050 net zero targets, the UK and Europe will require annual housing retrofit delivery of over 800,000 and 11.6 million homes respectively.
The task force that Professor Smith calls for would focus delivery on the major Scottish housing archetypes reaching across both urban and rural Scotland. A national retrofit task force of this scale would be the first of its kind and would include a wide range of social housing, industry, energy experts and skills development teams within a singular team approach.
A pan-Scotland approach needed
Professor Smith’s proposal was developed as part of the ZEST group (zero emissions for housing) led by representatives of local authorities and social housing providers. Professor Smith stated:
“With so many countries globally moving towards new retrofit solutions at the same time, this will place significant demands on materials, technologies and skills. Having a pan-Scotland approach to optimise solutions and productivity steered by a technical task force will greatly assist in the sector readiness, delivery and carbon reductions.”
Innovative solutions are critical to net zero
Technical innovation will be required to meet Scotland’s objectives and retrofit existing homes across the country,
Smith successfully used a similar approach when he led the delivery of innovative technical solutions for new build housing to improve sound insulation performance. This led to over 1.3 million new homes being built across the UK with the new designs, enhanced sound insulation and substantial increase in compliance for regulatory requirements.
Link to the full Scottish Government publication: https://www.gov.scot/publications/developing-net-zero-technical-solutions-for-scotlands-future-mass-retrofit-housing-programme/
Professor Sean Smith is Chair of Future Construction, School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh. He is also Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment thematic leadership group within the Scottish Research Partnership for Engineering (SRPe) and serves on several City Region Deal boards and advisory groups for South East Scotland.