Walking Through the City

Every time I walk through my neighbourhood on a cold winters day in London I’m reminded again and again how far we have to go to net zero.

Row upon row of solid brick terraced houses, endless 1930s semis, even blocks of 1990s flats - all with very high energy needs. Each with the steam from a combi boiler billowing from the rear. And this is in a relatively affluent area - the owners of these houses could almost certainly afford to do energy efficiency retrofits.

Even the houses which are being renovated are mostly being renovated to low energy efficiency standards. Houses will be gutted and rebuilt, but with barely a thought to efficiency.

We have an absolutely huge job ahead of us. Not just millions and millions of houses to improve, but one of education. How should a house be retrofitted? What’s the best practice for that type of construction? How can we preserve the interesting detailing? What actions will have the most impact?

These are the sorts of questions I ask myself when thinking about my house - but they’re very hard to answer. Most builders and architects aren’t aware of best practices. The right way to do things seems to be trapped inside lengthy research papers and in the minds of a few green consultants.

How can we change this?

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