Research from Schneider Electric’s Powering Change report found 9 in 10 buildings in the UK and Ireland must be digitally retrofitted to achieve net-zero by 2050.

While the impetus to retrofit current building stock is there, progress is slow. Decarbonising building portfolios, especially older buildings, can be complicated and Schneider found that just 32.9% of businesses have adopted energy-efficient solutions in the workplace.

However, without a widespread effort to retrofit current built environments, the UK is set to miss its net zero goals.

Included in Schneider Electric’s Powering Change report and developed with the participation of 850 business leaders from around the UK and Ireland, key findings include that: 

  • Nearly a third (30%) of energy in buildings is wasted
  • A tenth (11%) of total building CO2 emissions linked to construction materials such as steel, cement, and glass – and a tenth of this ends up going to waste
  • One in five (20%) of respondents have only just started measuring energy consumption and aren’t even aware of the level of waste
  • Only a third (32.8%) have switched to a clean and renewable energy supplier
  • Almost half (42.8%) said they had increased their adoption of digital automation, but only a small proportion (17.4%) have installed a building management system, key to transforming existing buildings into healthy and sustainable workplaces of the future

Kas Mohammed, VP of digital energy at Schneider Electric UK & Ireland, says: “To get anywhere near net-zero ambitions outlined in the Paris agreement, buildings need to undergo a seismic shift in efficiency and sustainability. We must address, police, and consider how new buildings are built, and more importantly we must change the way our existing buildings operate.”