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ADE urges UK public sector to adopt earlier 2040 net-zero target

Pressure group has outlined a number of commitments it hopes to see from political parties ahead of next month’s election to ensure ambitious decarbonisation targets for buildings are viable

The public sector should spearhead ambitions to eliminate carbon emissions from UK buildings and infrastructure by realising the aim by 2040, ten years ahead of current legal targets, the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) has said.

The campaign group has made the calls ahead of next month’s General Election as part of a wish list it hopes to see in the manifestos of major political parties in order to move forward with decarbonisation.

Any future government is being asked by the group to ensure an in-depth Treasury review goes ahead. This would detail required funding and the overall anticipated costs to support the shift to a net-zero economy by 2050 in the hope of a more joint up effort across government and industry to tackle carbon emissions.

ADE has argued that initiatives to expand use of onsite combined heat and power systems that can capture wasted heating output could potentially save energy that is equivalent to the output of seven large power stations.

It has also backed using heat networks to recycle waste heat, which it has argued can play a massive role in decarbonising cities.

The ADE said that it was calling on all political parties to commit to implementing minimum energy efficiency standards for all buildings across the country by 2040 as one of several key priorities to ensure the UK’s 2050 net zero target is viable.

The organisation said it also hoped for the publication of clearer policy and timelines to realise the decarbonisation of heat as part of a planned roadmap document that is scheduled for release next year.

It added, “This should include introducing an effective regulatory framework that makes investment in heat networks viable.”

Another key request for the next government is a revised policy concerning smart energy system, data and metres that can offer real-time information of building performance.

ADE deputy director Dr Joanne Wade said the organisation hoped all political parties would commit to a range of measures to ensure the UK can become a leader in net-zero carbon strategy and funding. She said this would require a new legislative framework to ensure widescale change can be realised by future governments, while also meeting commitments for a heat decarbonisation roadmap to be set out in 2020.

Dr Wade added, “Local onsite generation and energy management from thousands of businesses and millions of homes will be key to the UK’s net zero future. A zero-carbon energy system can only happen when energy customers and local energy are placed at the heart of the way that the UK meets its energy needs.”

“We need to make it easier and simpler for consumers to participate in the energy market and make clear what the future of our buildings and energy system look like from their perspective. We want to see legislation for a clear, rising trajectory of minimum energy efficiency standards for our existing building stock, which will enable innovation in technologies and green finance, and give businesses and individuals the confidence to invest.”

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