Retrofitting homes: how to minimise risk

This article first appeared in ALARM's climate change guide. ALARM is a membership organisation run by members, for members, supporting risk professionals that support our communities and citizens.

On 27 June 2019, the UK became the first major economy to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. This requires the UK to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero. Climate change has become a concern that can no longer be ignored so the UK’s implementation of international climate obligations is positive.

The heating of residential homes is one of the four highest carbon emitters in the UK, which is why the government is focusing on retrofitting homes to increase energy efficiency. However, retrofitting UK homes in such a short time is a mammoth task.

There appears to be little centralised government planning on this achievement and who will be responsible for overseeing it. Delays now will lead to a scramble to reach the target in the future. A lack of a centralised strategy has led to individual councils adopting their own targets and methods of achieving them. We also must ask whether the construction industry has the skills and capacity to meet the target.

While we don’t want to detract from the need to reduce carbon emissions, it’s important to highlight the potential risks that could result from a race to zero. The hope is that a standardised regulatory system is implemented soon, averting a climate and a legal catastrophe.

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