Retrofitting homes for a recessionary era; energy efficiency retrofitting services (EERS) sector characteristics and routes to increased activity
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Within the UK, energy efficiency improvements within the existing housing stock is a key area in which governments have attempted to increase rates of activity to boost carbon reduction and end user cost savings. The most recent UK policy, the Green Deal, was a pay as you save scheme, linking the capital cost of improvements to ongoing energy bill payments. The success of this policy was limited, with minimal uptake in comparison to expectations. This research investigates the viewpoints of retrofit industry practitioners, to assess their experiences of working under the Green Deal, and evaluate what pathways could be available to move forward into the future. UK and German based individuals interviews were used to compare experiences, along with UK group interviews and focus groups to develop findings via a grounded theory approach, to illuminate possible future strategies for UK retrofit. Key findings suggest EERS expansion is most successful if policies are designed more holistically; UK policies show strategies which focus on simply the property and not the occupants have their disadvantages. Therefore, a move away from marginal financial incentives, such as the Green Deal's loan structure, to a wider consideration of how policy tools interact with supply chains and end users, would enable increased impact. Precise strategies identified to achieve this include; EERS sector members providing an attractive investment prospect to customers external to any government subsidy, linking of energy efficiency improvements with more standard property upgrades, and an increase in training levels to increase professionalism.