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Zero Carbon Homes in the UK

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Zero Carbon Homes in the UK

Zero Carbon Homes in the UK

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  • 1. Zero Carbon new homes by 2016 Bremley W. B. Lyngdoh A presentation for BioRegional Wallington, Surrey 30th May 2007
  • 2. Thinking Globally UN-HABITAT this month reaffirmed its position urban planning had become increasingly important in managing climate change because well planned cities provide a better foundation for sustainable development than unplanned cities. At the Climate Negotiations in Bonn, hosted by UNFCCC, in which all UN member states were present UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka noted that starting from 2007, some fifty percent of the global population were living in urban areas. Urban planning has a direct impact on climate Urban areas are major producers of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and therefore have a significant impact on climate change. UN-HABITAT deals with climate change and urban development, a key element of which is urban planning, as part of its mandate. This is expressed in the Habitat Agenda under the Global Plan of Action: Strategies for Implementation. The Agenda, adopted by all member states of the UN states Habitat's commitment to sustainable energy use and sustainable transport, key issues in climate change mitigation as well as key elements of urban planning. As a result of this mandate, UN-HABITAT must work with Habitat Agenda partners to use urban planning and development as a mitigation measure for climate change.
  • 3. Background The majority of newly built homes in the UK should be zero-carbon by 2016 according to the pre-Budget report. The government aims to achieve this target by exempting such homes from stamp duty for a limited period of time, starting this year. At present, more than a quarter of carbon emissions come from households, adding greatly to global warming. But the report did not say how this ambition will be achieved, with details not expected until the next budget. Critics say the cost of making a home zero-carbon will push up property prices, outweighing any tax exemption. The ambitious move was announced within the re-Budget report, which also saw increased taxes on flights and a greater commitment to energy efficiency. Households account for more than a quarter of UK energy consumption.
  • 4. Greater Incentives Within 10 years, every new home will be a zero carbon home and we will be the first country ever to make this commitment, said Chancellor Gordon Brown during his pre-Budget speech. But the proposals provide no details on how the Government will ensure that new properties meet such standards, nor does it give a definition of a zero-carbon house. Kevin Griffin, tax director at Ernst & Young argues that the stamp duty exemption will create, on average, savings pf 1-3% of the price of the buyer. Substantially greater incentives will have to be offered to persuade the construction industry to make the necessary changes on the new homes.
  • 5. Zero Carbon House Key Features Source: ESD (Energy for Sustainable Development)
  • 6. Right Signal The measures outlined in the consultation document, called Building a Greener Future: Towards Zero Carbon Development, included:   tightening building regulation over the next decade to improve the energy efficiency of new homes   publication of a Code for Sustainable Homes, which includes a green star rating for properties   a draft Planning Policy Statement on climate change that will take into account carbon emissions A zero carbon house is defined as a property with "zero net emissions of carbon dioxide from all energy use in the home". This includes energy consumed by appliances such as TVs and cookers, not just other uses that are currently part of building regulations,including heating, hot water and ventilation.
  • 7. UK Household Energy Consumption The UK's 21 million homes are responsible for 27% of CO2 emissions. The government hopes that the measures will help it meet the target of cutting CO2 emissions by at least 60% by 2050. The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC)published a report warning that key environmental targets were"undeliverable" unless households cut the amount of resources they consumed. The government's environmental watchdog warned that existing properties also needed to be made more energy efficient. At least 75% of properties are still expected to be in use in 2050, the year by which the government hopes to have cut carbon emissions by 60%from Source: DTI (2004) 1990 levels.
  • 8. Efforts Needed   The SDC concluded that retrofitting current technologies, such as better insulation and more efficient heating systems, to the existing housing stock was the most cost-effective way to reduce households’ environmental impact.   The Comminities Secretary Mrs. Ruth Kelly acknowledged that more effort was needed to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes, and hoped the rating scheme, called Energy Performance Certificates, would encourage households to cut consumption.   Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of Home Builders Federation said that the home builders cannot achieve these targets alone and that every sector of the economy would need to do its bit cut carbon emissions.   The government, house builders, utilities and local councils all work together to deliver the changes we need. Improving the energy efficiency of homes will help cut fuel bills and cutting carbon emissions.
  • 9. New Zero Carbon Homes The government wants to reduce emissions from homes, which are currently responsible for 30% of all the UK's emissions. From 2008, it plans to give all new homes star ratings to reflect their energy efficiency, with properties qualifying for the maximum six stars if they produce enough energy from solar panels, wind turbines and other micro generation technology to cover all the power they take from the national grid. These zero carbon homes will also be exempt from stamp duty. Under the A zero carbon block of flats in changes, the government says emissions East London by Steve Parsons from residential properties could be reduced by 7m tonnes a year by 2050.
  • 10. The Way Forward There are substantial opportunities for housing developers, appliance manufacturers, and energy service industries to greatly improve UK housing whilst delivering 60% savings in CO2 emissions services. According to a recent study two-thirds of the carbon emission savings come from demand reduction and one-third from low and zero carbon technologies (LZCs) in homes and local communities. So by 2050, the targets should be that:   Existing homes are refurbished to a high standard   The worst homes are replaced   All new homes are built to be ultra-low energy homes after 2020   Lighting and appliances energy consumption are reduced by 44%   54 million low and zero technologies are installed. A demand-side energy focus In terms of energy demand reduction in the domestic sector, there are two main areas to focus on: (1) the building fabric and (2) residential lights and appliances.
  • 11. Improving the building fabric The quality of the building fabric in homes has major implications for energy demand. A long-term strategy to encourage refurbishment across the entire housing stock would deliver major energy savings. Space heating is a crucial area to address in order to reduce energy demand. If we are given a scenario where the average space heating demand of the stock is halved then the fabric improvements in existing homes would result in a 40% reduction in space heating whilst newly built homes can be designed to achieve a 90% reduction in space heating. Extensive refurbishment of existing homes is key to the demand reduction strategy because 86% of the 1996 housing stock will Source: ODPM (2005) still be standing in 2050.
  • 12. Continued….. There are currently a variety of policy measures for existing homes in the form of grants, advice and accreditation schemes. These include support measures for cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, hot water tank jackets, boiler upgrades, heating controls, and draught proofing. Although all these measures are worth implementing to reduce energy demand, they are not sufficient. Other building fabric improvement measures need to be widely taken up: solid wall insulation, floor insulation, improved air-tightness, heat recovery ventilation and passive cooling (e.g. shutters and blinds to avoid energy- intensive air-conditioning). If we are given a scenario where the worst homes are demolished then they can be replaced with new high energy performing homes. In recent years demolition rates have been very low, approximately 20,000 dwellings per annum. At this rate the average house will have to last for 1300 years. If we are given a scenario where a four fold increase in this low demolition rate occurs targeting the least fit homes in the housing stock then a targeted demolition programme could be implemented to demolish 80,000 dwellings per annum from 2016 onwards. By 2050, 3.2 million of the worst homes in the housing stock will have been demolished, representing approximately 14% of the 23.9 million dwellings in 1996.
  • 13. The increase in population, the decrease in household size and the need to replace demolished dwellings will create a substantial demand for new houses. From 1996 to 2050 there will be a demand for 10 million additional new homes. Current construction rates are approximately160,000 dwellings per annum, which is not fast enough to keep up with demand. If we are given a scenario where construction rates are increased to an average of 220, 000 per annum over the next 45 years then these homes can be ultra-low energy and designed for small household sizes. Design standards like those achieved here in the BedZed development, need to be the norm for all new housing developments in the UK. Source: ODPM (2005)
  • 14. Improving residential lighting appliances If we are given a scenario which allows for an increase in appliance ownership whilst creating a 44% saving in electricity use through the uptake of best available technologies then by 2050, the average household's electricity consumption for lighting and appliances will be 1680kWh per annum in comparison with 3,000 kWh per annum in 1996. Major reductions can be achieved for cold appliances and lighting through vacuum insulated panels (VIPs) and LEDs (light emitting diodes). If we are given a scenario where energy consumption to power consumer electronics is expected to increase to double then the manufacturers will fully Source: 1998 data: Fawcett et al. incorporate energy efficiency into 2000; 2050 data: UKDCM product design.
  • 15. Continued….. There are many technical opportunities for energy improvements, but there also needs to be a concerted effort by householders to both own suitably sized appliances as well as energy conscious usage. Manufacturers need to be encouraged to view energy- efficiency, as a vital component of product design therefore preventing energy profligate products coming onto the market. If we are given a scenario where the implementation of passive cooling strategies is done then this will avoid the need to install air conditioning equipment, which could increase electricity consumption in an unsustainable way.
  • 16. Low and Zero Carbon Technology A decisive shift to building integrated electricity and heating generation from LZC technologies will achieve a third of the energy and carbon dioxide savings. If we are given a scenario where almost 54 million LZCs being installed, resulting in over 100 TWh of electricity and 260 TWh of heat generated per annum by 2050 then the LZC technology industry will need to grow at a rate of 30% year on year to achieve the deployment of 54 million LZCs. Every dwelling will have an average of almost two LZCs technologies; this includes solar thermal,photovoltaics, heat pumps, fuel cells, and/or combined heat and power(CHP), using biomass. CHP integrated at the building and/or the community level will provide 60% of dwellings with heat and electricity. Another 30% of houses will be generating electricity from photovoltaics. A distributed energy system could potentially enable 90% of householders to meet some of their own electricity needs, therefore displacing the need to build new centralised plants, as existing nuclear and coal plants are retired. A complete market transformation to LZC over the course of the next 45 years is possible through taking advantage of the point when boiler equipment is replaced. Boiler equipment is replaced on average every fifteen years, therefore there are at least three replacement opportunities. LZC technologies require a fundamental shift in capital outlays from centralised utility companies to decentralised energy service companies (ESCos) and consumers.
  • 17. South West leading in Zero Carbon A major new study shows that South West England has the potential to be a world leader in zero carbon housing development. The groundbreaking report, commissioned by the South West Regional Assembly, South West RDA and Government Office for the South West shows that zero carbon homes are now technically viable in larger housing developments in South West England. With over half a million homes expected to be built in the South West of England within the next twenty years, the study, thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, shows that the bulk of carbon savings from new construction in the region will come from using renewable energy in new homes. The study also estimates the cost of a number of technological options and suggests that biomass fuels like wood chip will be the dominant renewable energy source for new developments built to zero carbon standards. Matthew Spencer, Chief Executive of Regen SW said that it is easier to make dramatic cuts in carbon emissions from new homes than from existing homes so it is sensible to aim high in new construction.
  • 18. Acting Locally Go Zero is a community project based in Chew Magna that raises awareness of the environmental and social impact of local people’s everyday actions and provides suggestions for change towards a zero waste society. It offers affordable and sustainable solutions to reduce and conserve resources and energy, to contract our carbon footprint, and to brighten the lives of the community while recognizing our responsibilities to encourage others throughout the world to do likewise. The Go Zero programme is structured around four zero waste focus groups. Their purpose is to explore the issues around each subject and, more importantly, to stimulate action. These groups are:   Recycling   People & Consumption   Transport & Energy   The Converging World
  • 19. The Converging World Project Tamil Nadu is a state in Southern India with a population equivalent to that of the UK. Around the district of Tirunelveli a remarkable community support organisation has developed called SCAD, (Social Change and Development) that seeks to bring about positive change through encouraging people to take responsibility for their own lives and the lives of others. Carbon Offset funds called Tree link raised in the local community in Chew Manga is used to support the planting of new timber and fruit farm plantations in Tamil Nadu. An acre of newly planted woodland is a fraction of the cost of new woodland planted in the UK and would support viable and sustainable livelihoods in Tamil Nadu as well as providing shade for livestock, increasing biodiversity and improving the local water table.
  • 20. To end I would like to quote Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Thank you very much!