The UK is legally bound to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, with analysts suggesting that most of this will come from a complete decarbonisation of our housing stock. What does this low carbon future mean for housebuilders?
In order to replenish Britain's dwindling housing stock, the government must build 250,000 houses per year (currently only 160,00 are built annually). However, the government is also committed to reducing the UK's carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, with a disproportionate amount produced by buildings.
Currently, 18% of the UK's carbon emissions come from buildings- with a further 15% of emissions coming from electricity consumed- and have therefore come under intense scrutiny when it comes to building materials and standards. Because of this, and the difficulty of saving carbon in other sectors, the UK's building stock has been targeted for a complete decarbonisation by 2050.
Numerous think tanks have put forward the idea of making '2050 ready' homes in response to the UK's commitment to the '2050 target'. However, the government is reluctant to enact such legislation due to perceived costs to homeowners.
When you put forward plans to build a house or extension, your SAP or SBEM calculation will produce an EPC which will be used to show compliance with current Building Regulations. As part of this process, you may be advised to adopt certain energy-saving technologies in order to improve your SAP/ SBEM score and meet compliance.
Currently, Building Regulations allow developers to “balance out” achievement of carbon targets across the homes built on one site, which can allow for some fluctuation of the energy efficiency performance between buildings of the same development.
In some cases, it may be impractical to implement energy-efficient technologies, and therefore housebuilders will pay to save carbon elsewhere in the community through 'allowable solutions'.
There has been a renewed vigour amongst home builders and companies to incorporate carbon-friendly technologies into their buildings as they look longer-term to potential financial benefits and updates to legislation.
Although there is a higher initial cost in a building a low carbon home, or implementing energy efficiency technologies, this will be offset by reduced fuel bills and cheaper running costs.
If you would like to speak to one of our expert energy consultants about implementing low carbon technologies into your building, we would be happy to advise you. Please get in contact using the details provided.