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Report eyes viable path to halve new building energy needs by 2030

Green Construction Board outlines several different case studies that can help realise government energy efficiency aims over next decade through a focus on ventilation and materials

It will be both technically and economically feasible to curb energy use in new buildings by 50 per cent of current levels by 2030 in line with government ambitions, new industry findings have concluded.

Opportunities for passive ventilation and Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) will be among a range of approaches that can be adopted in the construction sector to drive a dramatic reduction in energy needs in new build structures in response to the government’s ‘2030 Buildings Mission’ strategy. This strategy seeks to halve energy use in buildings and was unveiled by the government last year to help realise its current Industrial Strategy.

New findings that have been compiled by the Green Construction Board (GCB) and the sustainability workstream of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) have concluded that case studies now exist in buildings for realising an overall reduction in energy use of 50 per cent. This figure is compared to energy demand in “similar buildings”.

These case studies were unveiled late last week at a developer forum hosted by Baxi Heating. They have identified recurring approaches such as setting contractual energy performance targets that can help sufficiently reduce power demand in new buildings.

Government is currently committed to curb carbon emissions by 80 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050.

Lynne Sullivan, Chair of the GCB Buildings Mission Taskgroup, said that the report was focused on detailing nearer-term objectives that could play a part in realising any potential push towards net zero carbon buildings by 2050.

Ms Sullivan added, “We call for urgent and consistent action on three fronts - regulation, incentives and supporting research – and whilst the government’s Challenge was framed in the context of new technologies and modern construction practices, it is notable that the exemplars cited in this report do not suggest that these are a significant pre-requisite.”

Other recommendations in the report include the prediction of energy use both at the design stage and then during construction.

A ‘fabric first’ approach to construction is also backed as a measure to improve lifetime energy efficiency at the earliest possible stage through materials used in a building. This commitment could be supported by ensuring better and cheaper products are available in the construction supply chain, such as high thermal efficiency products and materials to support airtightness, according to the findings.

The proposed fabric concept could also make use of modern construction methods such as off-site assembly to reduce thermal bridging and improve the detailing process.

Baxi Heating said in a statement that the case studies given in the new report “unequivocally supports” that the 2030 Buildings Mission aim was deliverable to schedule.


MVHR was identified in the report as an essential component for realising 50 per cent energy reductions in new build properties over the next decade. The findings said this would require a review of existing UK MVHR products presently on the market and how they compare to European models.

Ensuring sufficient skills were in place for higher quality commissioning and installation of these systems was also identified in the report as a major challenge.

Opportunities were identified for the use of natural ventilation solutions that could help reduce energy needs in new buildings.

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