Retrofit Wales - Cardiff - 17 September 2013
Venue: City Hall, Cardiff.
Welsh Government reaffirms its commitment to tackling climate change at Retrofit Roadshow
The Welsh Government reaffirmed its commitment to improving the energy efficiency of Welsh homes and businesses at the Retrofit Roadshow in Cardiff. Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food’s keynote address gave a strong and positive message to industry that the Welsh Government is committed to retrofitting Wales’ housing stock and will work to tackle the problem of fuel poverty.
Speaking at the conference, the Minister said: “Improving the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses and tackling fuel poverty remain priorities for this government. Rising fuel prices put more pressure on already strained budgets - pushing more people into fuel poverty and increasing operating costs for our businesses.
“Retrofitting our homes and businesses not only helps to reduce energy bills and create Welsh jobs, it also helps protect the environment by reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Retrofit conference brought together businesses and organisations from across Wales to explore how we can improve the energy efficiency of every home and business in the country. Melin Homes, Warm Wales and Forrest outlined how they are successfully driving-up demand among residents and retrofitting at scale. By delivering community benefit projects using a trusted brand and creating a framework to promote employment & training for Welsh SME’s they are achieving social, economic and environmental benefits across the country. Cadw, BRE Wales and Willmott Dixon also talked of the importance of engaging with Wales’ rural communities and tackling hard-to-treat homes.
To help property owners the National Energy Foundation, Carbon Trust Wales, Land Securities, Federation of Small Businesses Wales and Arup explained the business case for retrofits, the technical solutions available, how to finance them and overcome the challenges Welsh businesses may face.
Despite the increasing legislative and market drivers for low carbon non-domestic buildings, the principal drivers for the decision to refurbish a building are still primarily to update the brand format, improve the quality of the building for the occupants or attract higher rental values and new tenants. A range of financing is available including LEEF and Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales, Enhanced Capital Allowances, Business Premises Renovation Allowances (tax break) and the Green Deal. The Low Carbon Retrofit toolkit produced a couple of years ago by the Better Building Partnership was recommended to help businesses overcome any challenges they may face such as gaining buy in and realising the value.
The National Museum of Wales also spoke about their own retrofit journey that has cut their bills significantly. To see the full case study click here.
The day ended with a plenary session and panel discussion looking at how Welsh businesses can take advantage of the new Construction Procurement Strategy and the role it has to play in retrofitting the nation. The potential impact of community benefit, employment training and meeting standards was also highlighted. The Welsh Government also urged businesses to register with www.sell2wales.co.uk if they haven’t already done so as that’s where all public retrofit tenders are advertised.
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