- When it makes sense to do a retrofit
- Consult building occupants on timing
- Meet rising standards for EPCs
- Meet rising Building Regulations
- Comply with fossil fuel heating phase out
- Apply to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme before 2025
- Get funds for industrial-scale retrofits until 2025
- Get finance and support
As a major source of carbon emissions, buildings legally must meet higher energy standards as the UK moves toward its net zero goals.
SMEs that own or manage older non-domestic buildings need to make a retrofit plan, allowing for:
- tenants are changing over
- building systems or materials that need replacing
- standards are increasing
- funding is available
Retrofits are often combined with other building changes such as:
- repairs and maintenance
- improvements and alterations
- extensions and changes of use
You have the most control over when to do a retrofit if your building is solely owner-occupied.
A ‘deep’ retrofit that changes building fabric and services may still cause significant disruption to finances and business activities. Staff should be consulted on timing to ensure buy in.
You can do a retrofit in any of the following ways if you have tenants:
- between tenancies when the building is unoccupied
- during tenancy, but only to owner-controlled parts of the building
- during tenancy, including parts of the building the tenant controls
Usually, the owner controls the ‘core and shell’. The core shell is:
- the outer building envelope and basic interior parts
- major services such as heating supply
Tenants may have varying degrees of control over interior finishes, lighting and how equipment operates.
Establishing ‘boundaries of control’ and when they can be retrofitted to meet performance standards is important to making a successful retrofit plan.
In England and Wales, your building will require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating that meets minimum standards. These are planned to increase in 2023, 2027 and 2030.
The type of rating depends on your location and type of building.
As of June 2022, in England you must meet new Building Regulations for retrofits that qualify as ‘building work’.
These regulations are expected to increase substantially again in 2025.
The government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy aims to phase out the installation of building heat and hot water systems that use fossil fuels. A response to consultation on this will be published in due course.
Proposed changes would not apply to industrial processes that require heat.
The government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme runs to 2028 or until funding runs out.
It’s estimated that 90,000 upgrades can be funded by the scheme.
You might be eligible for up to £6,000 off the cost of a heat pump or biomass boiler if you own a smaller non-domestic property in England or Wales that uses a fossil fuel heating system.
Your building must also have enough insulation to be eligible.
Businesses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with high energy use from industrial processes can apply for the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF).
Phase 3 of the IETF will open for new applications in early 2024.
Your business case will have to be approved to apply successfully.
Contact IETF@beis.gov.uk to find out more about IETF.
You might find it helpful to hire a consultant to check when you should carry out a retrofit if your business needs support and has financial resources.
Check our retrofit funding page to find out more about what is available from banks, government schemes and local councils.