Hilary Benn to tell architects to ‘adapt’ for climate change

In a speech to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Hilary Benn is expected to call for a greater focus on adapting, or ‘retrofitting’ houses.

The Government has set a target for all new homes to be carbon neutral by 2020, in a bid to cut down on households’ carbon emissions. However, of the 25 million houses in the UK‚ new builds account for less than one per cent of the housing stock.

By 2050, the vast majority of the housing stock is expected to be buildings that have already been constructed.

Mr Benn, ahead of the speech, said: ‘Architecture must take account of carbon and adaptation to create climate resilient buildings, infrastructure and places’.

So-called retrofitting is considered by architects to be a far more ecologically friendly way to improve the quality of the housing stock, rather than rip down poor-quality buildings and replace them with carbon-neutral new builds.

However, a report published this week said that it could cost an average of £10,000 per home to fit the necessary insulation and other energy efficiency measures.