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Members of the Social team were delighted to attend PlaceTech’s ‘ESG: The Retrofit Playbook’ event in London on 23 February.

Social sponsored the event, which was hosted in the newly redeveloped Kensington Building, from which delegates could enjoy views across the capital.

The event was aimed at asset managers, property developers and advisers seeking practical advice on how to meet carbon targets in existing buildings. The Kensington Building was chosen as it is a prime example of how retrofit of an existing building can be done while reducing carbon emissions and remaining true to the building’s heritage.

Remodeling the existing building’s frame saved thousands of tonnes in CO2 emissions and meant 100% of excavation waste was diverted from landfill while 99% of construction and demolition waste was diverted from landfill.

The Kensington Building provided the perfect setting for a wide ranging discussion on how best to reduce emissions in the built environment.

Participants heard from Nello Petrioli from WSP, who was involved in the Kensington Building project, about how they maintained the existing frame and worked with planning authorities to deliver the project.

Linda Theil of White Arkitekter led a discussion on how to reuse materials on retrofit projects. Linda gave a range of examples of projects she had worked on that recycled significant amounts of materials – in some cases as much as 95%. She also talked through the increasingly sophisticated systems that can be used to log and manage data relating to existing building materials.

In a later session Social’s own Luke Cross, Director of Social Invest, chaired a panel discussion which looked at the impact that ESG reporting has been having in the social housing sector. Imran Mubeen, Director of Treasury at Bromford Housing Group, explained that ESG reporting has allowed the housing association to pull together all the information that investors are requesting into one place.

Also on the panel was Lora Brill from commercial property investment managers Orchard Street. She said that ESG has integral role in shaping the future of the built environment but that there were challenges on a number of fronts including the validity of EPCs.

Other sessions covered the economics and technical challenges of retrofit as well as the challenge of retrofitting heritage properties.

With retrofit becoming a crucial part of modern construction, the event offered a useful forum in which interest parties could discuss practical solutions to the retrofit challenge.

Social was proud to facilitate this event which demonstrated the appetite that exists in the built environment sector for a more sustainable future. These kinds of events reaffirm Social’s position as a leader on sustainability and strengthen its status as a certified B Corp. Social would like to thank PlaceTech for hosting the event and we look forward to more discussion on retrofit in the future.