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Achieving decarbonisation through retrofit

Our toolkit will help you to make informed decisions in prioritising decarbonisation plans to single assets or across entire estates to reduce energy usage.


Many building portfolios face a real challenge in meeting upcoming net zero carbon targets and are at risk of having stranded or toxic assets. We have developed a data driven decision making toolkit – The Retrofit Toolkit to decarbonisation, which will help you to review your assets in an informed and strategic way.

In the UK, 80% of buildings which will contribute to the UK net zero carbon target for 2050 already exist. To meet this requirement, urgent action is needed.

Every building is different and comes with its own unique challenges and requirements. Using this tool, you can make informed decisions as part of your estates strategy. It will identify where you can lower your energy costs, reduce maintenance costs and your carbon footprint and create more resilient assets.

The Retrofit Toolkit can be used on an individual building basis or scaled up to consider multiple assets across an entire estate. This will help you choose which interventions would be most beneficial to you using a balance of capital cost, energy savings, payback, embodied carbon and more.

Heating our buildings across the UK building can currently require up to 170GW of gas. Our electricity grid has a capacity of only 60GW, with a planned upgrade to 95GW. To meet the 2050 requirement, we cannot rely on increased capacity, we need to reduce our demand.”


our solution

The Retrofit Toolkit to decarbonisation

When applied, the Retrofit Toolkit will identify bespoke solutions that can be applied to your estate’s requirements, which balance capital costs, maintenance costs, energy savings, cost savings over time and embodied carbon. We take a tailored approach which produces personalised results and interventions based on your asset.

Determining interventions

Using a combination of specific data from your asset, the cost and energy values of readily available products and technologies and typical guidance readily available to all designers, we will develop a number of different intervention options and calculate tangible results.

Funding options

We understand the different funding options that are available to undertake these works and can support you in gaining access to these if applicable.

Here to help

Get in touch to find out how this toolkit can help you to create and prioritise decarbonisation across a single or multiple assets and help you to reduce your energy usage.

Contact us
AHR Joseph Priestley Building Diagram 05

data input

Implementing the Retrofit Toolkit

The toolkit generates results and interventions based on data from your assets. The greater the input, the more effective and accurate the results. Even if your data is limited, the tool can quickly set up a framework of interventions and then we can begin to refine particular areas providing you with more accurate findings for each.

To be able to produce a comprehensive set of interventions, it is a good idea to undertake a complete review of the current state of your asset or assets. This includes assessing windows, walls, floors, roofs, heating, lighting and ventilation systems. Reviewing your overall building efficiency and it’s HLFF (Heat Loss Form Factor) is critical to saving energy and varies hugely between buildings.

Once your results are generated, you can identify and prioritise which interventions are best to make, on your chosen asset, whether it's just one or many, based on achievability and buildability and your desired outputs and benefits.

Navigating the pathway to decarbonisation

Our ongoing decarbonisation roundtable series continues to spark engaging conversations on the challenges and opportunities in retrofitting. The series aims to foster connections amongst the industry, forming a community committed to sustainable practices.

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81 Colmore Row1772
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Decarbonisation strategy across an entire university estate

University of the West of England
We have worked with the University of the West of England (UWE) on a number of assets, as part of their decarbonisation strategy across their entire estate. One building which required significant retrofitting in order to bring its efficiency up to the required standard was the Glenside Hub. The previous facilities were outdated, underused and not fit for purpose. Our architecture and building consultancy teams worked together, using extensive surveys and a comprehensive 3D Scan to BIM to define which interventions would be most beneficial to the university.

View more about the UWE Glenside Hub

Retrofitting homes to address the fuel poverty crisis

We are working with WDH to shift reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, to ensure that their residents are provided with comfortable, affordable homes well into the future. One way we have addressed this issue is through retrofitting existing housing schemes to improve the energy efficiency, whilst maintaining economically viable neighbourhoods. We have improved the efficiency of these homes, by retrofitting a range of renewable energy solutions including photovoltaics and air source heat pumps.

View more about the project

Restoring a Grade II listed building to sustain longevity

Chatwin Building, 81 Colmore Row

Located in the heart of the Colmore Business District, the refurbishment and extension of the Grade II listed building addresses the recent changes in ways of working, whilst sensitively preserving its historic attributes. A key aspect of the project involved integrating old with new into a cohesive design, that retained and preserved the architecturally significant features of the existing building. By combining our architecture, building consultancy and interior design services we crafted a design that gives the building a new lease of life.

View more about the project

Retrofitting a complex 1960's university building

Joseph Priestley Building
Part of the University of Huddersfield’s decarbonisation strategy for their estate, this sustainable refurbishment is an outstanding demonstration of the retrofit of an inefficient university building to increase energy efficiency. What was once an inefficiently planned and tired building, is now a vibrant, fully accessible building, flooded with natural daylight. We sensitively planned and phased the works, to allow parts of the building to remain open - minimising disruption to key research and administration facilities.

View more about the project

Retrofitting vacant offices to provide town centre living

Keynsham Riverside View
Bath and North East Somerset council assessed the viability of keeping their outdated council offices within their estate and decided the better option was to retrofit them to create low cost housing. We retained almost all of the existing concrete structure and masonry walls during the refurbishment and combining thermal upgrades to the building envelope with all electric low carbon heating has ensured that this is a very sustainable development.

View more about the project

Restoring, conserving and reusing railway infrastructure

Stoke-On-Trent Railway Station
In retrofitting this railway station sustainability and environmental factors were a key focus. We used LED lighting as much as possible to minimise energy usage. By carefully planning and phasing the build programme, the station was able to stay open throughout, helping to minimise disruption passengers and staff.

View more about the project

Promoting better education through refurbishment

William Hulme Sixth Form
We refurbished this Grade II listed building to create a dedicated new sixth form centre, south of Manchester's city centre. During the retrofit we reduced energy usage by uncovering original window heads, bringing more natural light into the classrooms. It was important that we remained sensitive to the original features of the building throughout the project, to preserve and enhance its historic character.

View more about the project

Reusing an existing leisure centre to reduce embodied carbon

Keynsham Riverside Leisure Centre
In assessing their entire estate, Bath and North East Somerset council found that the energy efficiency of their leisure centre was insufficient. We were initially appointed to undertake feasibility studies for demolishing the entire building to construct a new leisure centre. Our studies showed that by refurbishing and extending the buildings, it would achieve better value for the council and significantly reduce embodied carbon by reusing the existing reinforced concrete frame and masonry walls.

View more about the project


Savings based on real world data

These savings are based on a theoretical school, with the results and interventions bespoke to this project specifically. Some interventions include installing sustainable insulation boards between rafters, adding an insulated render externally and applying a new heating system and Mechanical Ventilation with Heat (MVHR) system.


kg Embodied CO2


EUI saving


kg 30 year operational CO2 reduction


annual energy cost reduction


kWh/m2yr EUI saving