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Retrofit is the term that is used to describe all the work that is required to install or improve features on an existing house / building to make it more energy efficient.

Why is it important?

The Retrofit Journey

What are we Doing? 

Funding Retrofit

Retrofitting your Business

Retrofit Training

Why is it important?

In South Ribble, buildings are our greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 49% of emissions. 

By retrofitting our homes, we will make a large difference in reducing our carbon footprint. 

In the long term retrofitted homes should be cheaper to run, better protected against energy price increases and require less energy to heat. Ultimately, it will reduce fuel poverty and increase our resilience to Climate Change.

Warm homes are healthier places to live, as cold homes can worsen existing health conditions and, in some cases, can cause new ones.

Retrofitting can increase the value of a property, improve its thermal comfort during very hot or cold periods and save money on energy bills. Retrofitting homes will also reduce the overall need for fossil fuel use across the Borough, as homes will have lower energy demands and / or renewable energy sources installed. 

The Retrofit Journey

Before considering the installation of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and air source heat pumps, it is essential that other features of the property which may be a source of heat loss are addressed. The things to consider could be improving ventilation, roof/loft insulation, draught proofing or the type of window glazing. 

It is beneficial to think about these before installing solar panels or heat pumps.  You may find that just by improving the thickness of the loft insulation, the efficiency of the current boiler or insulating under floors, you could sufficiently reduce energy costs without the need to install more expensive renewable features.

Each home is unique, so there is no one size fits all approach.  Every property will need to be assessed individually, looking at a Whole House System approach using the Energy Hierarchy.  This approach will provide a programme of measures to be completed in the right order. 

Using a Fabric First approach prioritises repairs, insulation, draught proofing, ventilation and double / triple glazing before alternative renewable energy sources - solar panels, heat pumps etc. are installed. 

This holistic approach includes external (outdoor) and internal (indoor) elements as well as assessing how people use the building - are you out all day, working from home all or part of the week, single occupancy, family with young children etc.. 

There are two stages to the retrofit journey.

Stage 1 of retrofitting is the same as all the Cost of Living energy saving actions that are widely suggested to reduce energy use and save money. 

The aim is to reduce the heat lost from our homes via our doors, windows and uninsulated walls and roofs.  The heat loss percentages for a typical house are -

A picture of a house with arrows showing heat loss from various areas - roof 25%, windows 10%, walls 35%, floors 15% draughts 15%


  • Walls 35%
  • Roofs 25%
  • Floors 15%
  • Draughts 15%
  • Windows 10%



 Stage 2 is a Whole House Assessment or Dwelling Condition Survey, which needs to be carried out by a qualified professional to 

  • Identify how the property is used by its occupants
  • Assess ventilation to reduce draughts and install mechanical ventilation if required. 
  • Identify sources and causes of moisture
  • Assess building construction for signs of movement, settlement, dynamic cracks or issues of concern
  • Assess the effects of wind driven rain on building materials
  • Identify features that may introduce weak points where heat can escape (thermal bridges), such as adjoining walls, sheds, meter boxes, conservatories, insufficient clearance around window reveals.  

The Whole House Assessment Report will identify building fabric improvements that need to be made prior to changing to renewable energy sources.  

Doing things in the wrong order may mean you spend more than you need to or may make future improvements harder.  For example, there is no point installing a new heating system without sorting out the heat loss issues that already exist.

While we can't give a specific value on savings, it is expected that retrofitting will save £200 - £1000 per year in energy costs.  Savings will depend on how inefficient the property was prior to work, how much has been upgraded, future fuel prices, and the temperature requirements of the home.

If ventilation of a property is improved (while keeping temperatures correct and minimizing energy use) this will also improve Indoor Air Pollution 

More information on privately rented housing and EPC ratings 

What are we doing?

South Ribble Borough Council is working in partnership to understand the local need and demands for Retrofit from residents and businesses.  

We employed 3 Interns from Lancaster University during the summer of 2023, who collated baseline data to create the most up to date snapshot of where we are at in South Ribble at the moment.  

We are creating links with local suppliers, installers and assessors in order to understand the market and identify local training providers.

We have built a development of 15 energy efficient townhouses and apartments in Bamber Bridge for the affordable rental market.  Read more about it in the UK100 MacKenzie Arms

We hosted our first Greening Homes and Businesses event which was attended by local businesses, school Eco Councils and members of the public. 

We are embedding our retrofit actions into our Climate Change Action Plan.   

We are coordinating funding opportunities via the grants detailed below for residents and businesses.  

Funding Retrofitting

Although retrofitting a home can be expensive, especially during the ongoing cost of living crisis, there are Government backed energy efficiency schemes and grants available. These are delivered by local authorities and are available for eligible homeowners in order to help pay towards the cost of energy bills or contribute towards installing new insulation.

The Cosy Homes in Lancashire website outlines different grant schemes that some residents may be eligible to apply for.  Government announced in March 2023 that Cosy Homes in Lancashire has been awarded an additional £41m for the second phase of the Home Upgrade Grant. The scheme started on 1st April 2023 and will run for 2 years ending 31st March 2025.

The Boiler Upgarde Scheme is a UK government initiative running from 2022 until 2028 for residents wanting to install a heat pump or biomass boiler.   

More information on other Cost of Living grants can be found at - 

Government help available to keep your home warm such as the Warm House Discount scheme or Winter Fuel Payment

South Ribble's Household Support Fund and Warm Home Grants, for households struggling to cover basic heating costs. 

Grants for Partners - for local community organisations supporting households struggling with the cost of living  

Disabled Facilities Grants specialist adaptations to meet care and mobility needs to allow residents to live independently. 

Newly launched is the Take Charge Today website from Electricity Northwest and Citizens Advice Bureau to help you take charge of your bills and energy costs and to offer advice on energy saving measures.  

Retrofitting your Business

If you have a business in South Ribble and would like advice or information on our Business Energy Efficiency (BEE) Scheme grants, please visit our Businesses in South Ribble website.

Retrofit Training

South Ribble is at the forefront of green job generation, with approximately 14,500 extra green jobs expected between 2030 and 2050 according to  Lancashire Careers Information - Green and Low Carbon Opportunities

Training is currently available in Lancashire via a number of institutions including - 

Low Carbon Activity have a series of retrofitting courses available.

The Lancashire Colleges and Blackpool and Fylde College have a number of sustainable construction and retrofit courses.  


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