trustmark retrofit coordinator

Leading academics discuss why the time is right to bring global thought-leaders on sustainable refurbishment together

The idea for an international, high-level symposium on sustainable refurbishment was borne out of frustration.

Despite huge investment into R&D by governments and industry, we keep getting sustainable refurbishment wrong.

We fail to develop approaches that successfully incentivise uptake. We fail to fund deep renovation, preferring the statistical comfort blanket but relative ineffectiveness of high-volumes of single-measures. We fail to understand the idiosyncrasies of climate, geography and building typology before we decide on a prescription to retrofit buildings – often inappropriately. We make buildings airtight without ventilating them, even though most experts know this is insane. We often make health and social problems worse through retrofit, not better. And we are not even coming close to realising the potential carbon savings that the successful, widespread refurbishment of our built environment could offer.

I have been involved in retrofit for many years. In the UK alone, it has long been a source of frustration that things just don’t link up across sectors and between stakeholder professions. That means at all levels, costly mistakes are repeated and wheels reinvented simply for the lack of awareness that others, elsewhere have faced the same problem before. If you multiply that across international borders and even continents, the waste and inefficiencies have almost incalculable social, economic and environmental costs – especially if and when we finally start to deliver renovation at scale.

Many events feature refurbishment on their agenda. But somehow they don’t move the debate on, and tend to merge in to one. Only an event delivered in true partnership with independent experts, employing the peer review process to identify the latest and best from around the world can truly

I shared these opinions with some leading academics – and was delighted when they agreed with my view. Click here to read a summary of the opinions they expressed, mixed together with some comments from industry and the professions garnered along the way.

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David Pierpoint, Managing Director, ISoSR