New publication: Reducing Carbon from the “Middle-Out”: The Role of Builders in Domestic Refurbishment

Kathryn B. Janda, Gavin Killip and Tina Fawcett (2014) Reducing Carbon from the “Middle-Out”: The Role of Builders in Domestic Refurbishment Buildings 4(4), 911-936 doi:10.3390/buildings4040911

Abstract

A three-year research project explored the evolving level of “building expertise” for low-carbon housing refurbishment in the UK and France. With a focus on “middle actors” and the evolution of professional practice, this paper reports on “middle-out” responses from the housing retrofit supply chain to top-down policies promoting low-energy retrofits of existing homes. The two countries have comparable long-term policy goals for CO2 emissions reduction, but there are important differences between their more immediate initiatives to achieve a step-change in activity in the housing retrofit market. Industry responses to these various policy signals were explored in a series of semi-structured interviews with builders involved in innovative, low-energy refurbishment projects. Drawing mainly on four case studies of innovative business models, the paper highlights innovative practices and processes being proposed and trialled by “middle actors” in the building industry. We describe middle-out implications of these innovative practices: upstream to policy makers, downstream to clients, and sideways across refurbishment providers and the retrofit supply chain.