A major upskilling of mechanical and engineering contractors is vital to successful eco-renovation of today’s building stock, warned experts at a working building conference.

An end to the fragmentation of the sector and a closer alignment to architects needs to happen to ensure Kyoto targets are met by 2050 said industry participants at the Working Buildings summit in London on 8 October.

Based on 1990 levels, carbon emission must be reduced by 60% before 2050 and it is estimated that three quarters of the buildings in place today will still be in use when that deadline is met.

“A great deal of concentration is going into the sustainability of new buildings but there is a huge stock of existing buildings that need to be made more sustainable,” said David Pollock, executive director, Electrical Contractors Association (ECA).

Experts agreed that reducing carbon emissions from existing stock was essential and would only com from increased training and greater collaboration.

“We must work with the architect and have an early involvement in the design of the project,” said Darren Burford, managing director, Andromeda Technologies, a systems integrator which aims to reduce carbon emissions.

While architects hold the responsibility for new builds, renovating old stock is down to the tradesmen implementing refurbishments, said Pollock.

“Not only is the ECA committed to pushing the environmental agenda and policies, but I believe that contractors can make or break the sustainability goals for the UK,” he said.

By staff writer.