Building Retrofitting – Is It Worth It?

04 July 2023

As the UK’s government and private businesses race to meet their 2050 net zero targets, sights have been set on the region’s older, non-residential buildings. In 30 years, when 2050 has arrived, 70% of the building stock in use today will still be here. If we want to use them, they must meet the net zero targets.

That means 70% of all buildings today need a zero emissions plan.

Is Retrofitting the Solution?
Outside of building new, retrofitting older buildings is really the only way of making them more energy efficient and comfortable for users or inhabitants. Building owners don’t have much of a choice, but retrofitting is not just a frustrating requirement to begrudge. It comes with great commercial upsides.

1. Energy cost savings: One of the primary commercial benefits of retrofitting is the potential for significant energy cost savings. By upgrading the building’s systems and equipment to be more energy-efficient, such as installing efficient HVAC systems, LED lighting, and insulation, businesses can reduce their energy consumption and lower utility bills. Over time, these savings can result in substantial cost reductions
and improved profitability.

2. Increased asset value: Retrofitting can enhance the value of an old building. Upgraded buildings with improved energy efficiency, modern amenities, and
sustainable features are more attractive to tenants and buyers. The market demand for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly buildings is growing, and retrofitting can position a property as a desirable asset in the market, potentially increasing its market value.

3. Enhanced tenant satisfaction and retention: Retrofitting can improve the indoor environmental quality and comfort of a non-residential building, creating a more pleasant and productive work environment for tenants or employees. Upgrades such
as better lighting, improved air quality, and temperature control can contribute to increased tenant satisfaction, which, in turn, can lead to higher tenant retention rates. Happy and comfortable occupants are more likely to renew leases or remain long-term tenants.

4. Marketing and branding opportunities: Retrofitting an old building to be more energy-efficient and sustainable can be a powerful marketing and branding tool. It allows businesses to showcase their commitment to environmental responsibility and attract environmentally conscious customers or clients. Retrofitting can differentiate a business from competitors, enhance its reputation, and align with broader sustainability goals.

5. Future-proofing against rising energy costs: Retrofitting can protect against potential future increases in energy costs. By investing in energy-efficient technologies and renewable energy systems, businesses can reduce reliance on fossil fuels and those that provide them to insulate themselves from the volatility of energy prices. This can provide long-term stability and financial resilience.

So, is retrofitting worth it? The answer, from both a regulatory and commercial perspective, is yes.