All about Retrofit with Simon Flint

Retrofit. Retrofit. Retrofit. You've probably seen the term crop up many times in our emails, news items and tweets. But what is it and why is everyone talking about it? We caught up with our Retrofit trainer Simon Flint to find out about the exciting opportunities on the horizon. 

Hi Simon, so first of all...what is Retrofit and why has is come about?

I'll try and keep this brief! In order to tackle fuel poverty and meet the government's net zero carbon targets by 2050 it was clear that something had to be done about the UK's existing housing stock. The domestic sector accounts for 25-30% of CO2 emissions so it made sense to tackle the retrofit of energy efficiency measures in order to encourage confidence in the industry. 

In 2016 the government published its Each Homes Counts Review, which proposed a number of recommendations. This covered everything from establishing a standards framework, consumer advice and protection, monitoring and enforcement and establishing a quality mark that consumers could look out for when looking to undertake energy efficiency improvements. 

From the Each Home Counts Review came the PAS 2035 standards, with which all holders of the quality mark must adhere to. 

What's the Retrofit process?

Put simply:

  1. The Retrofit Coordinator will carry out a risk assessment of the property. This will establish the risk grade as either A, B or C (A being the lowest level of risk and C being the highest).
  2. The Retrofit Assessor will carry out various assessments and give the information gathered to the Coordinator.
  3. The Retrofit Designer will then use the assessment to design relevant energy efficiency improvements to the dwelling.
  4. The approved designs will be used to carry out improvements on the property.

    What's the role of the Retrofit Assessor?

    So first of all, a Retrofit Assessor must be a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor because of the reports they'll be carrying out. 

    The Assessor's job is to carry out an Energy Report, Condition Report and Occupancy Assessment, which they send to the Coordinator. 

    Obviously those who are already qualified as DEAs are at a massive advantage as they already meet the criteria to attend the course. A lot of the reports they'll produce are similar to the ones they create currently, so it would be a fairly easy transition. 

    Can you tell us more about the course?

    Before Covid we used to teach this course face to face; now it's online so the format has changed somewhat and people can complete it in their own time. The course covers the whole of the retrofit process and equips you with all the professional skills and knowledge needed to be a Retrofit Assessor. 

    I'll breakdown the course at is was in the classroom - but it's still applicable to the online version: 

    Day 1 covers PAS 2035 and a background of the industry. In the afternoon we cover building physics, U-Values, thermal bridges, ventilation, heat loss, damp, and include an exercise in calculating your own U-Values. 

    Day 2 focuses more on the software you'll be using to create the three different reports (Energy Report, Occupancy Assessment and Condition Report). 

    Once you've successfully completed the course you can join Elmhurst's TrustMark-approved Retrofit Assessor scheme. 

    So far the course has proved to be very popular and it's exciting to be at the forefront of an industry aiming to tackle fuel poverty and increase the energy efficiency of the UK's housing stock. 

    Find out more about our Retrofit training course here.

    Find out more about the Retrofit Coordinator course here.

    Article published 29th October 2020

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