4m homes in the north need retrofitting by 2035 to meet green targets

Homes need retrofitting at a rate of one every two minutes on average, according to a new report.

Around 270,000 homes in the north of England will need retrofitting every year up to 2035 if the government is to meet climate targets, a new report has revealed.

To bring homes in the north up to the minimum target of Band C energy efficiency, the report from the Northern Housing Consortium has calculated that one house will need retrofitting every two minutes on average.

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • To reach the government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050, homes across the country must be improved to meet a minimum target of Band C energy efficiency. 
  • A new report from the Northern Housing Consortium, “The Northern Housing Monitor”, has calculated that to meet this target, homes in the north will need retrofitting at a rate of 270,000 per year up to 2035 - equivalent to one every two minutes. 
  • Currently, 62% of housing stock in the north is below Band C, higher than England’s average of 59.6% below Band C. In Yorkshire and the Humber, that figure rises to 65.3%.
  • Given the differential regional building rates, the report said, retrofitting will be even more significant in the north than in other parts of the country. 
  • The report’s authors said decarbonising the North’s homes by 2035 could generate 77,000 direct jobs in the North and 111,000 indirect jobs across the UK.

What’s been said

Tracy Harrison, Chief Executive of the Northern Housing Consortium said: “These figures show the scale of the challenge we face to begin to ready the North’s homes for net zero. But together we can do this. Councils and housing associations across the North stand ready to upgrade homes and create thousands of jobs in the process.

"With the Glasgow Climate Change Summit just around the corner, Rishi Sunak must show he is serious about net zero and levelling-up by confirming the long-term energy efficiency funding pledged at the last election, and in doing so, start to build the necessary confidence and capacity in the supply chain to allow us to deliver.”

A Government spokesperson said: “The UK has a strong track record in improving the energy performance of its homes, with 40% now rated Band C - up from just 9% in 2008.

“We are committed to going further and faster, and we continue to consider a range of ways we can drive forward decarbonisation, including our manifesto commitment to invest £9 billion in improving the energy efficiency of our buildings.”


The government’s Clean Growth Strategy has set a target to upgrade as many houses as possible to Band C energy efficiency by 2035 in order to meet their other target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Just 8% of the 2050 housing stock is expected to be built between 2025 and 2050, meaning that decarbonising the housing sector will largely be an exercise in retrofitting.

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