In a recent article from the BBC the extent of the UK’s offshore wind and renewable energy efforts is realised. A projected 30% of the country’s energy supply could be supplied solely from offshore wind by 2030, further progressing towards the 2008 Climate Change Act’s emissions reductions targets.
However, the issue surrounding this is that despite the offshore wind sector growing quicker than ever, the sources for the remaining 70% of energy are uncertain. Nuclear and low-carbon gas power station plans (the other two areas alongside offshore wind planned to provide our low-carbon energy) are stagnating for a variety of reasons and pose doubt to reaching emissions targets.
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: "Now the government's plans for a fleet of new nuclear reactors has collapsed, it leaves Britain with a big energy gap in the future.
The UK is committed to reducing emissions by 80% by 2050 and while sources of energy are a major part of this, the emissions from houses is just as important of a factor. A near total reduction in housing emissions will be needed to reach the 2050 targets.
How does this relate directly to you then? We can make the most of new renewable energy sources by improving the buildings we live in. By improving three things on a building you can drastically improve its energy efficiency and help future proof against likely demands to limit emissions.
By going above and beyond the minimum requirements of SAP and the building regulations in regards to building fabric can make an enormous difference. Good levels of floor, wall and roof insulation can substantially reduce a properties energy use. Having high quality building fabrics can reduce the associated costs and wear of other fixed building services. This is currently one of the most influential factors in calculating a SAP score and one of the simplest to improve.
Building regulations are relatively good in regards to boilers but there is always scope for improving heating systems. When using a conventional hot water system the insulation and controls, primarily the water storage cylinder, can make a large difference to the SAP score. The main task is reducing heat losses in water and space heating as it improves the efficiency of those systems but also the house as a whole.
Installing renewables on a property is a very good way of improving its SAP rating. Solar photovoltaic panels are one such renewable technology; the ability for a house to generate its own power can improve its score greatly. Aside from the effect on the SAP score microgeneration renewables will help feed more energy into the national grid, furthering an energy secure future.
In summary, with the UK increasing its drive towards creating more sustainable energy, a building should make best use of this clean power so as to not offset the improvements gained. By ensuring a property has good quality building fabric, an efficient and well insulated heating system, and installed renewable technologies, it can become part of this more sustainable future.