It can be defined as several things, but it is ‘exactly what it says on the tin’ – retrofit is the sustainable refurbishment of an existing building to make it more efficient, better for the environment and sustainable for the future. It includes either major or minor refurbishment as well as the installation of products to reduce the carbon footprint of the building and its future operations.
There are no set criteria as to what does and doesn’t constitute retrofitting, as this is obviously dependent upon several factors such as the make-up of the building, the challenges presented by this and the deliverables of the project. While planning a retrofit project or refurbishment, there are four key considerations to keep in mind:
- What are the current and future uses of the building? And will this change over time?
- What cost effective technologies and products are available to help achieve deliverables?
- Will an isolated or holistic strategy be required?
- Do the proposed strategies work in unison or compete against one another?
Types of Retrofits
Painting on a blank canvas is obviously the preferred development strategy because it has traditionally been cheaper, presents fewer challenges in design and does not come with inherent potential design and workmanship issues that may need to be overcome. In most cases, achieving a desired standard will be easier and better value on a new build than on a refurbishment or retrofit. It is these challenges, together with the refurbishment costs, that predominately deter developers and owners from proceeding with sustainable refurbishments.
Consideration should be given to the fact that retrofit can consist of smaller projects and does not necessarily require a complete refurbishment of an existing building. This is not a new concept, but one that has been around for decades – it’s just now that it is being implemented on a much larger scale. An early example includes the conversion of lighting systems to LED. Today, there are a variety of other measures and strategies being implemented including the installation of solar panels, ground source heating, underfloor and wall insulation and roofs, smart meters, heat disbursement and water efficient taps etc.
Prominent asset owners are starting to look at retrofitting to upgrade their property portfolio as a means to distinguish themselves from their competitors and ensure greater returns over the longer term.
E&C Construction Ltd offer a bespoke complete exterior refurbishment package to residential & commercial property owners.
Sustainable refurbishment of an existing building to make it more efficient, better for the environment and sustainable for the future.
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