What is our understanding of a truly sustainable retrofit?
1. Retrofitting in a way that will be healthy for the occupants (i.e. managing vapour and moisture, preventing mould, and providing sufficient ventilation to the occupants). If we don’t the whole retrofit train will grind to a halt as members of the public shout ‘hold! Retrofitting made my child ill!’ That shouldn’t happen.
2. Appropriate specification such that the original substrate (masonry and plasters) is not harmed, degraded or weakened, and the insulation and other new materials can continue to function as intended for the full intended life of the insulating system.
3. Be aware of how the original building was used and intended to be used. Try to see how this understanding can influence and improve the proposed retrofit (e.g. using window shutters as an energy conservation measure).
4. Conserving energy in every way possible as long as items (1), (2) & (3) are protected.
5. Always try to use materials that can be extracted and re-used/recycled. Whenever possible try to re-use existing materials.
6. Strive to use materials that have lower embodied energy and carbon impact. If possible use materials that are carbon neutral or even carbon sequestering.