Drawing on evidence from a mixed methods retrofit intervention trial of the homes of low-income, older and frail people in Victoria, Australia, this study explored practices of heating and keeping warm in terms of equity and health. In most homes, heating restrictions led to inadequate indoor temperatures. Adaptation practices increased householder resilience, however, some technical responses presented safety risks. Low-cost retrofits did not eliminate underheating and had little effect on householder practices.
Recognising both the recent surge in interest in low carbon refurbishments of residential buildings and the diversity of emergent terminology and perspectives, the authors set out definitions for key terms and frame a discussion of the phenomenon of refurbishments. The paper focuses on owner-occupied detached homes that dominate Australia’s existing residential building stock.