Examining the whole-life-carbon of existing schools – retrofit versus demolition. A case study of five London primary schools. Delivered by Antonia Khayatt (14th November 2023)
This webinar examines the whole life carbon impacts of retrofitting schools compared with demolition and rebuild. It is based on research undertaken by RAFT, in collaboration with the Department for Education (DfE) and the London Borough of Lewisham (LBL), looking at five primary schools in London.
We are facing a climate emergency. Reducing energy demand and carbon emissions from our poorly performing buildings is key to meeting the UK’s climate targets. There are 30,000 existing schools in the UK, all of which need to reduce their annual emissions. Should they be demolished and replaced with energy efficient schools? Or should they be retrofitted and how deep should that retrofit go?
RAFT’s research finds that pragmatic retrofit is better than demolish and rebuild in terms of whole life carbon and performs well on other issues such as upfront costs, running costs, health and energy security. However, time is critical – in particular the next ten years – with early installation of low-carbon heating systems being especially important.
The research compares the whole life carbon impacts of different levels of retrofit with demolition and new build. It also looks at which retrofit measures (PV, windows, heat pumps, insulation, MVHR …) have the highest embodied carbon and what can be done to minimize whole life carbon emissions.