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What does “retrofit” mean, and how can we scale up action in the UK sector?

Dixon, T. ORCID: (2014) What does “retrofit” mean, and how can we scale up action in the UK sector? Journal of Property Investment and Finance, 32 (4). pp. 443-452. ISSN 1463-578X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1108/JPIF-02-2014-0016


Purpose – Progress in retrofitting the UK's commercial properties continues to be slow and fragmented. New research from the UK and USA suggests that radical changes are needed to drive large-scale retrofitting, and that new and innovative models of financing can create new opportunities. The purpose of this paper is to offer insights into the terminology of retrofit and the changes in UK policy and practice that are needed to scale up activity in the sector. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews and synthesises key published research into commercial property retrofitting in the UK and USA and also draws on policy and practice from the EU and Australia. Findings – The paper provides a definition of “retrofit”, and compares and contrasts this with “refurbishment” and “renovation” in an international context. The paper summarises key findings from recent research and suggests that there are a number of policy and practice measures which need to be implemented in the UK for commercial retrofitting to succeed at scale. These include improved funding vehicles for retrofit; better transparency in actual energy performance; and consistency in measurement, verification and assessment standards. Practical implications – Policy and practice in the UK needs to change if large-scale commercial property retrofit is to be rolled out successfully. This requires mandatory legislation underpinned by incentives and penalties for non-compliance. Originality/value – This paper synthesises recent research to provide a set of policy and practice recommendations which draw on international experience, and can assist on implementation in the UK.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Urban Living group
ID Code:37148
Uncontrolled Keywords:Energy efficiency; Commercial property; Retrofit; Green Deal; Energy performance contract; DECs; EPCs.
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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