Report highlights need to adapt homes

You might think you are doing your bit to reduce climate change by reusing plastic bags, and getting the bus - but a new report aims to highlight the importance of retrofitting and adapting our homes.

Your Home in a Changing Climate describes why homes in London, the east and south east of England should become more efficient to mitigate the effects of climate change, and how they can adapt to changes that are already taking place.

The report, launched by the Three Regions Climate Change Group, concludes that widespread adaptation of existing homes is crucial as climatic conditions have altered since many were built.

It focuses on three key changes that put homes at risk – flooding, water stress and overheating – and outlines cost effective methods to increase the resilience of existing homes to these threats.

Adaptation should also be an integral part of housing stock improvement by local authorities, housing associations and homeowners themselves, the report says.

Speaking at the launch of the report, climate change minister Joan Ruddock said it was a step in the right direction.

“Ultimately it comes down to making sensible decisions over the coming years and decades to ensure our homes are sustainable and have the resilience to withstand climate change,” she said.

“Certainly government – central, regional and local – has a vital role to play but not in isolation.

“We all need to understand unavoidable climate change. This includes housing associations, the insurance and finance sectors, landlords and all of us as individual homeowners.”

Gerry Acher, chair of the London Climate Change Partnership, which took part in preparing the report, added: “Our existing housing stock is probably the most important part of our built environment to adapt to climate change. It dwarfs our new-built efforts.

“Retrofitting our existing homes should be seen as a huge market opportunity.”

An online guide to retrofitting existing homes can be found at

Kate Martin

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