The answer to the retrofit challenge? Overcladding homes to save energy

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As bills spiral, attention has turned to retrofitting. While it can be disruptive and expensive, Energiesprong is quite the opposite, writes Thomas Lane

There was near universal delight when Rishi Sunak announced his £15bn support package to help households struggling with sky-high energy costs last month. But the expectation is that energy costs are unlikely to drop in the short term, which means that the chancellor will probably have to fund another tranche of support next year.

While this support is welcome for those who are struggling, these substantial sums do nothing to tackle high prices in the long term – or help the country to meet its net zero targets.

Unfortunately, there is no quick answer to retrofitting the UK’s 28 million homes to reduce energy use permanently. Retrofit is disruptive, usually requiring people to move out of their homes. It is also extremely expensive, with the Building Back Better Commission estimating that it is just not financially viable to retrofit homes rated EPC C or worse that are worth less than £162,000. And the skills crisis means there is nowhere near enough industry capacity for such a massive undertaking.

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