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What is the retrofit first policy?

retrofit office refurbishments break out rooms fit out London city centre

What is the retrofit first policy?

Retrofit and reuse encourage developers to renovate and reuse existing buildings whenever possible instead of demolishing and rebuilding them. This is because retrofitting can save energy, reduce waste, and preserve the site’s heritage. Retrofitting also aligns with the City Corporation’s Carbon Options Guidance, which aims to reduce carbon emissions and achieve net zero by 2040.

Retrofitting can be used in interior refits by improving existing spaces’ design, layout, functionality, and comfort. Interior refits can involve changing the furniture, fixtures, lighting, flooring, walls, ceilings, and other elements of the internal environment to suit the needs and preferences of the occupants. 

Interior refits can also enhance the energy efficiency, safety, accessibility, and sustainability of the spaces by installing new technologies, systems, and materials. Interior refits can be done for various reasons, such as updating the style, increasing the value, extending the lifespan, or repurposing the use of the spaces. Interior refits can be applied to homes, offices, hotels, restaurants, shops, and schools.

Retrofit, energy use and the whole life-cycle of carbon emissions


Energy use and the whole life cycle of carbon emissions are part of the retrofit ethos. Regulations encourage a comprehensive approach to minimise and offset the carbon footprint of a building throughout its entire life span, from the extraction and processing of raw materials to the construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition of the building, as well as the potential reuse or recycling of its components. Read more here.


There are several ways to reduce carbon emissions in construction, such as:


  • Renewable and sustainable energy sources include solar panels, wind turbines, energy storage systems, power construction equipment, and activities. 
  • Minimising high-carbon materials, such as cement, steel, and plastic, and opting for low-carbon, reused, or recycled.
  • Maximising the efficiency and durability of building design, maintenance and operation to reduce energy consumption and waste generation over the whole building life cycle.
  • Sourcing local materials and suppliers reduces transportation emissions and supports the local economy.
  • Implementing carbon accounting and reporting systems to measure the carbon footprint of construction projects and set clear targets for reduction.
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Circular construction: a sustainable and profitable model

Circular economy in construction and operation – A circular construction model aims to reduce the building sector’s environmental impact and resource consumption by designing, building, operating, and deconstructing buildings to preserve and regenerate natural capital, optimise resource efficiency, and minimise waste. 

This model requires developers to adopt a long-life, loose-fit, low-energy approach for all new and existing buildings and materials. This means buildings are designed to last longer, adapt to changing needs, and consume less energy throughout their life cycle. Read more here.

Some examples of circular economy in construction and operation are:

  • Brummen Town Hall in the Netherlands has a modular design that enables easy disassembly and reuse of materials. 
  • Biological House in Denmark is a modular structure made from upcycled materials, such as ‘hardwood’ from grass, straw, tomato stems, and seaweed.
  • The Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia in Norwich is constructed from 80% natural and bio-renewable materials sourced through local supply chains.
  • Green Solution House in Denmark is a building that incorporates either fully reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable materials, such as recycled glass, wood, and concrete.

Office refurbishments require much planning, and none more so than the prospect of global warming.

Office Refurbishment Company London Green Living Walls

Climate resilience: A comprehensive strategy for urban development

A holistic framework that guides the planning, design, construction, and operation of urban developments to enhance their capacity to cope with and recover from the impacts of climate change. This framework encompasses various aspects, such as flood risk management, sustainable drainage systems, water management, infrastructure resilience, disease and pest control, and urban heating. 

The strategy seeks to ensure that developments within London are adaptive, robust, and responsive to the current and future climate challenges. Some examples of office refit features that consider the possibility of extreme heat or cold are:

  • Thermal insulation: Installing thermal insulation materials, such as wool, cellulose, or polystyrene, can reduce heat loss or gain through the building envelope and lower the energy demand for heating or cooling.
  • Natural ventilation: Using windows, vents, or skylights to allow fresh air to circulate inside buildings will improve indoor air quality and thermal comfort and reduce the need for mechanical ventilation or air conditioning.
  • Shading devices: Adding external or internal shading devices, such as blinds, curtains, awnings, or louvres, can block or filter sunlight, reduce solar heat gain and glare, and enhance natural lighting.
  • Green roofs and walls: Planting vegetation on the roofs or walls of buildings can provide insulation, cooling, and stormwater management benefits, as well as aesthetic and biodiversity value.
  • Cool roofs: Applying reflective or light-coloured materials, such as paints, coatings, or tiles, on the roofs of buildings can reduce the surface temperature and the amount of heat absorbed by the building and lower the urban heat island effect.

About Initial Interiors

Initial Interiors is your trusted partner for office refurbishment projects in London. We offer customised solutions that suit your overall needs, budget, and vision. Our team of skilled tradespeople, project managers, and designers will ensure your project is completed on time, within budget, and to the highest quality standards.

Whether you need minor works or a full-scale refurbishment of your existing or new office space, we can help you transform your workspace into a modern, comfortable, and sustainable environment. Contact us today at 020 8938 3893 for a free quotation and consultation with our friendly and professional team.

We have a proven track record of delivering successful office fit-out and refurbishment projects in London. Check out our 7-week London office fit-out case study to see how we overcame challenges and achieved excellent results for our clients. We are ready to bring the same dedication and excellence to your next project.

Our contractors are fully qualified, experienced, and reputable. They will communicate with you effectively and offer you competitive prices. We cover London’s West End, including the EC1, EC2, EC3, EC4, E1, WC1, WC2, W1, N1, and SE1 postcode areas.

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