Peter Rickaby

Dr Peter Rickaby chairs the BSI Retrofit Standards Task Group. He is also Technical Director of The Retrofit Academy and helps to run the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings (UKCMB) and the Building Envelope Research Network, both at University College London. The views expressed in his column are his own and not necessarily those of BSI, The Retrofit Academy or UCL.

Is it too late for sustainability?

Despite the urgency with which radical action is required to transform our built environment, Dr Peter Rickaby says he has never been more optimistic about the possibility of change.

Managing moisture: why we must learn the four Cs

Moisture problems are the Achilles heel of many new builds and retrofits, explains Dr Peter Rickaby – problems that can be exacerbated with poorly-conceived energy efficiency efforts, and which may become more prevalent due to climate breakdown.

The Jodrell Bank grand challenge

During a speech last year Theresa May challenged the construction industry to halve the energy use of new buildings, and to halve the cost of retrofit. But we already know how to meet these challenges, writes Peter Rickaby, and much more difficult tasks lie ahead.

Filling the retrofit policy void

The imperative to engage in evidence-based deep retrofit grows by the day. With the UK government dragging its heels, Peter Rickaby finds signs of hope in local initiatives, and in burgeoning Irish efforts.

Breaking the mould in Thamesmead

The net effect of poor insulation levels, underheating and under-ventilation in buildings poses a major public health threat. Peter Rickaby describes one pioneering London project that’s taking a practical, methodical – and scalable – approach to solving the problem.

The prebiotic passive house

As understanding grows of the importance to human health of good bacteria in our environment, and new hospitals in the US start to undergo ‘prebiotic’ treatment, Dr Peter Rickaby asks how long it will be before microbiology becomes a core part of building design.

Policy for zero, or zero policy?

The penny is starting to drop that profound energy saving efforts in buildings – right up to zero emissions levels – are both necessary and urgent if the UK is to honour its climate change targets. So what’s holding up meaningful action, asks Peter Rickaby?

An avoidable tragedy: questions for the public inquiry on Grenfell Tower

On 13 June, in an address about retrofit policy to the joint conference of the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, I suggested that the UK retrofit industry is dangerously incompetent, and that is why we need to implement the Each Home Counts industry review. Little did I know that in less than twenty-four hours those words would come back to haunt me in the most horrific way, writes Dr Peter Rickaby.

Who needs retrofit standards?

We all do, argues Dr Peter Rickaby, but the goal of mass retrofitting our energy inefficient building stock is hampered by the fact that when it comes to most retrofits, we simply don’t know what we’re trying to achieve.

Let’s move beyond the sustainable city oxymoron

A truly sustainable built environment hinges on a multiplicity of factors, not least including the context within which a building sits. Dr Peter Rickaby argues that a focus on cities may lead us in the wrong direction. 

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