With approximately 70% of the UK’s non-residential building stock constructed before the year 2000, if energy and carbon targets are to be achieved, and the UK’s 2050 net zero targets realised, significant energy efficiency and embodied carbon reductions are needed. As a result, much of the sector will have to undergo some form of retrofit by 2050.  

Any stakeholder group with the intention of supporting the successful delivery of net-zero focussed retrofit projects will benefit from the following guidance.  

The guide summarises the fundamental considerations for retrofit projects to support the drive towards net zero carbon in our existing commercial building stock. It includes:  

  • Definitions for light and deep retrofits   
  • 10 key considerations for net zero carbon focused retrofits projects to support net zero pathways and goals 
  • Real-world case studies, exemplifying the importance of these considerations and the benefits low carbon focused retrofits can have in the advancing net zero goals. 

Key Actions to Drive Commercial Retrofit


Setting Targets

Setting targets based on energy intensity metrics for all assets in their portfolio with timelines and milestones towards achieving these through asset management and retrofit plans aligned with capex budgets.

Move away from Fossil Fuels

Establishing and implementing portfolio-wide strategies for transition away from fossil-fuels – aligned with planned retrofit works for each asset.

Upskill Facilities Managers

Upskilling building facilities managers to ensure the best maintenance and retrofit packages are considered to ensure decarbonisation of building operation.

Energy Monitoring

Rolling out in-use energy monitoring and reporting for the entire building portfolio and commit to sharing energy data regularly and transparently with all tenants, disclosing on an annual basis the operational performance of assets.

Disclose Energy Performance

Disclosing the operational energy and carbon performance of all held properties (at asset level) across their portfolios (Funds) in annual reporting – alongside transition plans to net zero aligned with TCFD reporting requirements.

Prioritise Retrofit

Prioritising retrofit of existing assets over demolition and new build – given the substantial savings on resource use and embodied carbon.

This foundation guidance sets out to address the issue of establishing a level of consistency, but UKGBC will be producing further guidance to support the industry, focussing in more detail on the practical implications of achieving net zero focussed commercial retrofits. Learn more here.

If you have any questions about this publication, any of the upcoming workstreams relating to commercial retrofit, or would like to provide feedback, please email ANZ@UKGBC.org. 

Related downloads

Download The Report

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Download The Executive Summary

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