UK homes jeopardising national climate targets

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published a report a couple of years ago saying that the UK will not hit its legally binding carbon reduction targets unless the government acts now to address the ‘increasing uncomfortable and unsafe’ national housing market. The UK Climate Change Act states that emissions need to be reduced to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050 but unless UK buildings release fewer emissions, it will not be able to meet this target. The report also found that between 2016 and 2017, energy use in homes had increased and counted for 14% of total UK emissions.

The committee drew up a list of five things which need to be done if the UK is going to meet its climate targets: performance and compliance (the performance gap in newly built homes); skills gap in construction; retrofitting existing homes (making sure existing homes are low-carbon); building new low-carbon and energy efficient homes; and finance and funding (the UK government needs to secure funding for low-carbon sources).

The CCC says that by 2025, no new homes should be connected to the gas grid. The report also claimed that existing technology could deliver high-quality, low-carbon and climate-resilient homes, if new policies can plug the existing skills and knowledge gaps. Veritherm is a method which could potentially be used to check the thermal capacity of low carbon homes compared to the designed performance. Detailed analysis and data will suggest what areas need improving to help reduce the figure.

Baroness Brown, the chair of CCC’s Adaption Committee said:

“The UK’s Climate Change Act gives us a little over a decade to halve energy usage from new buildings, but the industry continues to construct buildings that underperform their design estimate. Bold and rapid action is required. Veritherm shows that by harnessing the right technologies we can create pragmatic and powerful tools that contribute to achieving lower emissions.”