UCL Energy Institute


Grenfell Tower fire open letter to Sadiq Khan signed by UCL-Energy staff

25 July 2017

An open letter on responding to the Grenfell fire disaster has been sent to Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, from members of UCL staff

Grenfell Tower

The letter, signed by 18 staff from across UCL, including Prof. Tadj Oreszczyn, Director of the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources, and Prof. Bob Lowe, Director of the UCL Energy Institute, shares deep sadness at the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire. It also warns “At this early stage, we caution attributing blame to tower blocks built during the post-war era’s mass social housing programmes. The stigmatisation of tower blocks and estates has played a very negative role within the current housing crisis.” Rather than demolishing social housing the letter suggests that “refurbishment is an important alternative”. 

Done well, retrofitting of existing buildings, including tower blocks, reduces bills, energy use and CO2 emissions, and makes them more comfortable to live in.  However it must be done well, and that means that design and installation must be supported by an effective system of building regulation.  UCL Energy Institute has expertise in building performance and building regulation.  Colleagues also undertake research into the role of building retrofit in meeting future energy and carbon targets. The Institute therefore looks forward to contributing to an analysis of what went wrong at Grenfell Tower, and how it might be put right.  

Photo credit: Natalie Oxford