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Tax Increment Financing can fund retrofits, says architect

31 August 2011 No Comment

Retrofitting buildings with sustainable qualities is achievable with the help of a financing policy set out by the government, an architecture director has argued.

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Writing for Guardian.co.uk, Nick Willson, director of Nick Willson Architects, says that “the news that councils can retain business rates – and use that income to lever in new funding for housing and community regeneration projects – is very welcome” to the construction industry.

Willson referred to Tax Increment Financing (TIF), an initiative that was developed by the government in order to drive local investment and economic growth.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

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According to a hm-treasury.gov.uk statement, TIF will allow Local Authorities to “borrow against predicted growth in their locally raised business rates.” Councils can use that borrowing to fund key infrastructure and other capital projects, which will support locally driven economic development and growth.

Energy efficiency

Willson proposes that it is possible to upgrade the “existing fabric” of buildings with the funds. He explains that older buildings are poorly insulated and often overheat in the summer, whilst losing heat rapidly in the winter.

This is obviously not energy efficient,” he says. “By either installing an insulated external cladding system or internally insulating the fabric, heat loss and overheating can be reduced. Shading can be integrated to reduce solar gain, while green roofs or walls can be added to help with insulation, water attenuation and biodiversity,” he added.

Issue of air-tightness

With regards to building design, Willson also says that the issue of air-tightness also needs to be addressed, as a “leaky building will let heat escape.” rHe goes on to suggest that after the fabric has been upgraded, other green technologies, such as solar thermal panels and heat storage, can be employed.

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