London’s buildings account for nearly 80 per cent of carbon emissions - retrofitting to make them energy efficient presents not merely a challenge but actually one of the biggest economic opportunities in terms of investment in green skills and jobs. Green Sky Thinking offers a unique chance to hear directly from retrofit experts in the 'Getting Ready to Retrofit' seminars. It also features opportunities to see retrofit solutions at first hand, get hands-on advice and hear more about how retrofit might develop in the future. An overview of the 2011 activities in this strand is given below.

'Retrofitting Made Simple'
Nick Willson Architects invites the community and local business into its office to demonstrate and offer advice on how to improve and retrofit their existing properties to raise the sustainability credentials and performance of the fabric and space.

'Retro-Fit for Purpose'
The retrofit of non-domestic properties to meet the UK's carbon reduction commitment appears dauntingly complex with properties of different ages, size, construction, and with varied tenures demanding different solutions to almost identical properties.  Penoyre & Prasad look at the imperative of efficiencies through repetition and scale, and at emerging patterns which may provide an effective blueprint, with reference to recent projects including Guy’s Tower.

100 Princedale Road
The UK's first certified PassivHaus refurbishment, by Octavia Housing, of Victorian social home as part of Retrofit for the Future programme. Innovative ideas alongside tried and tested principles, achieve an 80% CO2 reduction and 94% less energy use. Paul Davis + Partners 2010.

3 Acorns Retro Eco-house
Victorian terrace two-bedroomed house, converted into London's first retro carbon-negative home. It sells more green electricity to national grid than it imports fossil fuels. Sustainable features include solar electric and hot water panels, wind-turbine (useless!), wood-burner, rain-harvester, triple-glazing, solid wall and under-floor insulation, range LED bulbs. Display on green-lifestyle. Owner is eco-author and business eco-auditor.

39 Parkholme Road
Minimal and green remodelling of a Victorian terraced family house, incorporating exceptional thermal efficiency, solar heating and water recycling throughout the original structure and a new copper and glass box extension. Macdonald Wright Architects 2010.

49 Camberwell Grove
This tiny terraced house with unusual garden has been remodelled to provide a light, flexible interior, full disabled access, with rainwater harvesting, air-source heat pump and PV panels. Eger Architects (refurb) 2009.

74 Amhurst Road
Full eco-renovation of large mid-Victorian semi; interior and exterior solid wall insulation, sash double glazing, secondary glazing, solar PV, novel loft insulation/storage solution and wind-powered ventilation system. 1870.

CityWest Homes Retrofit for the Future Home
This house features many carbon emission-reducing measures, thanks to £150,000 award from the Technology Strategy Board, including learning heating controller, innovative insulation schemes, LED lighting and a boiler that generates electricity.

John Thompson & Partners
Refurbishment of a former 1920s warehouse into an architects' studio, fitted out with the latest green technology as a demonstration of sustainable office design. John Thompson & Partners 1920s/2008.

Mayville Community Centre
One of the first Passivhaus retro-fit projects in the UK and the first non-domestic to be fully certified. A revitalised and super-energy-efficient building which provides a much-improved hub for the community in which it sits. Building has achieved a 94% energy saving. Bere Architects 1890/2010.

Queens Park Low Carbon Zone
A tour through the Queens Park Low Carbon Zone to see how WCC plans to reduce emissions in the area by more than 20% and visiting several different properties including a Victorian cottage in a conservation area refurbished to reduce carbon emissions by 60-80% and Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4+ properties under construction. Sustainable features include solid wall insulation, cavity wall insulation, MVHR, community heating PV etc. Special demonstration to show how to draught proof a Victorian cottage.

The Coach House
Victorian house retrofitted to save 70% carbon, features internal and external insulation, high performance double glazing, integral draught stripping and LED low energy lights. 1860.

Zero Carbon Loft
'An eco-refurbishment project which crammed in just about every energy- and water-saving device known to man whilst highlighting the importance of retrofitting existing buildings.' Alistair McGowan. Green Structures 2010.