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Scaling Up for the Future: Non-Domestic Retrofit in Scotland

Retrofit, Scotland

Published 01st May 24 - by Gemma Laws

Written by Holly Hansen-Maughan, Sector Manager for Retrofit

Retrofitting, the process of upgrading existing buildings to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, holds immense promise in Scotland’s journey towards a greener future. In recognition of this, the Supply Chain Sustainability School is running a conference to highlight retrofitting non-domestic buildings from a variety of perspectives; financiers, asset owners, educators and contractors working in urban and rural environments.

The Scottish Government has ambitious climate targets, which mandate significant reductions in carbon emissions. As part of this move towards carbon reduction, the Scottish Government has committed to accelerating the pace of retrofit across all sectors, including residential, commercial, and public buildings.

The government aims to have fuel-poor households retrofitted to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)EPC B by 2040, and social housing holding EPC B by 2032.

However, with 230,000 non-domestic buildings in Scotland, it is not just homes that need to be targeted. There is a real need to address the retrofitting of non-domestic stock. This includes Scotland’s most important cultural, community and heritage buildings as well as public and private sector buildings. The Scottish Government plans to introduce regulations that mean that non-domestic buildings must be net-zero by 2045, to align with the government’s target.

Retrofitting these buildings will bring a multitude of benefits as well as the reduction of carbon emissions. This means cleaner, greener buildings that are good for the planet, as well as being healthier for people to use – warmer, better ventilated and more efficient. Making these buildings more energy efficient means they will use less energy to run, meaning that power and resources can be distributed elsewhere.

Retrofitting these buildings requires significant work, and with that work comes various opportunities across the built environment. Indeed, the transition to a low-carbon economy, including retrofit and energy efficiency measures, is expected to create thousands of jobs in Scotland.

However, this also comes with many challenges that the built environment will need to learn from to quicken the pace of retrofit at scale.

Scotland has a very diverse built environment, from historical stone buildings, Victorian terraces and the famous urban tenements to more modern buildings and large industrial complexes. It also has a diverse landscape. Much of the focus on retrofit projects is on towns and cities. However, 98% of Scotland is classed as rural, which brings its own unique challenges such as access and services.

Scotland’s retrofit journey is unique, and that is why the Supply Chain Sustainability School has decided to dedicate a virtual conference within their NatWest Group-sponsored retrofit programme entirely to the Scottish retrofit market. The free Scaling up Retrofit in Scotland: Opportunities in Non-Domestic Buildings conference will be held on 15th May, 10am-12pm via Zoom.

The conference will include multiple perspectives. The keynote will be delivered by the Royal Bank of Scotland, who will explain the key link between finance and retrofit, and how the banks are supporting customers across Scotland to decarbonise. Robertson will provide a deep dive into retrofit projects from a contractor’s perspective, focusing on the retrofit of the famous King’s Theatre in Edinburgh, and in contrast, a retrofit of Rothesay Pavilion on the remote Isle of Bute. Knight Property Group will bring an asset owner’s perspective, to look at the choices they made in retrofitting their buildings. Then, Built Environment – Smart Transformation will help attendees understand their opportunities for getting involved in this work. The session will be chaired by Holly Hansen-Maughan, the lead for retrofit at the Supply Chain Sustainability School who will work to draw out key themes and enable audience participation and Q&A.

The conference will bring these projects to life, and ensure attendees understand retrofit from a variety of angles – for those who are working in large industrial buildings, offices, cultural centres and more. It will help attendees understand how retrofit is undertaken and consider how retrofit is not only making these buildings more energy efficient but also preserving their history and importance.

Aby Wardrop, Site Manager at Robertson, encapsulated the importance of retrofitting the Kings Theatre when she said: “Protecting this important piece of social and architectural history is special for the community, performing arts, and everyone involved. Together, we will ensure that the show goes on.”

This conference will highlight the work being done in Scotland and inspire others to do more. It will bring forward unique learnings on non-domestic retrofit in different Scottish settings, though these learnings will be relevant to people across the UK.

Please register now: Scaling up Retrofit in Scotland: Opportunities in Non-Domestic Buildings

If you want to learn more about retrofit, please visit our topic page. If you don’t know where to start with your retrofit learning, why not take a training needs assessment? Assess now.