New report underlines need to tackle carbon emissions from homes

A new report by the Committee on Climate Change and its Adaptation Committee warns that UK homes are “not fit for purpose” either against the threat of climate change or in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and makes recommendations in line with those in the UK’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment. 

The National Infrastructure Commission also made recommendations for tackling emissions and improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s homes in the National Infrastructure Assessment – these include setting a target for the rate of installation of energy-efficiency measures in the building stock to reach 21,000 a week by 2020, backed by £3.8billion funding for social housing; setting a national standard of resilience against the risk of flooding, and trialling alternative fuels like hydrogen and heat pumps to make progress towards zero carbon heat.

The report’s key findings are that:

  • The UK’s legally-binding climate change targets will not be met without the near-complete elimination of greenhouse gas emissions from UK buildings.
  • Emissions reductions from the UK’s 29 million homes have stalled, while energy use in homes – which accounts for 14% of total UK emissions – increased between 2016 and 2017.
  • Efforts to adapt the UK’s housing stock to the impacts of the changing climate: for higher average temperatures, flooding and water scarcity, are lagging far behind what is needed to keep us safe and comfortable, even as these climate change risks grow.

The Committee’s report says action is needed in the following five areas:

  1. Performance and compliance. The way new homes are built and existing homes retrofitted often falls short of stated design standards.
  2. Skills gap. The chopping and changing of UK Government policy has led to a skills gap in housing design, construction and in the installation of new technologies.
  3. Retrofitting existing homes. Ensuring existing homes are low-carbon and resilient to the changing climate is a major UK infrastructure priority, and must be supported as such by the Treasury.
  4. Building new homes. New homes should be built to be low-carbon, energy and water efficient, and climate resilient.
  5. Finance and funding. There are urgent funding gaps which must be addressed, including secure UK Government funding for low-carbon sources of heating beyond 2021, and better resources for local authorities.

For the full report please click here.

 

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