The National Retrofit Hub was set up earlier this year with a mission to help mobilise resources to kit out the nation’s housing with heat pumps, solar panels, double glazing and other energy saving measures.
It is backed by more than 40 organisations including the Federation of Master Builders, Innovate UK, TrustMark, Sustainable Development Foundation and the UK Green Building Council.
Simon McWhirter spent four years as a tabloid newspaper reporter before moving into public affairs with wildlife campaign group WWF. He then worked for HAB Housing, a development company set up by television presenter Kevin McCloud. He joined the UK Green Building Council as director of communications two years ago and was promoted to deputy chief executive in March 2023.
“The National Retrofit Hub will fill a longstanding missing piece of the puzzle of solving our national housing retrofit crisis,” he said. “I’m excited to lend my experience to the shared mission of upgrading the UK’s housing stock to prepare for a net zero future.”
He added: “In the face of a deepening climate emergency, the Hub’s work couldn’t be more critical to our net zero mission. We know that there is no single policy or industry lever that we can pull to achieve retrofit at the speed and scale needed, which makes collaboration our only pathway to nationwide retrofit – both top-down led by governments and bottom-up on the groundwork by learning from industry’s best practice on the ground. With both UKGBC and the National Retrofit Hub ideally placed to enable that collaboration, I look forward to an even closer partnership that can accelerate our shared goals”.
The organisation’s chair, Lynne Sullivan, said: “Simon’s active engagement across the industry mirrors the collaborative ethos that defines our mission at the Hub. This appointment comes at a pivotal moment as we are rapidly building progress at the Hub; our working group activity is in full swing with our first outputs due in the autumn, a new website and branding will soon be unveiled, and the board and executive team are collaborating with a growing number of partners and sponsors.”