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Wales mulls 2025 clean heat commitment

Devolved authority follows its Scottish counterpart in seeking to introduce much stricter targets for how heating is provided in new and existing buildings over the next five years

The Welsh Government is consulting on proposals to ensure every new home across the nation can be heated via clean energy sources from 2025 onwards.

A series of proposals are being put forward by the devolved authority with the aim to make lower carbon heat and energy technologies more viable. This would be realised through tougher building standards that could be gradually introduced over a five-year period.

Replacing a reliance on fossil fuels for heating Welsh homes by introducing renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaic panels, supported through a move towards heat pumps or district heat networks. is among recommendations in the consultation document.

Encouraging the use of a central heat source to provide hot water to multiple properties in also backed in the document.

The Welsh Government has played up its interest in specific methods to improve the overall energy efficiency of homes and thereby reducing heating demand. The introduction of triple glazing and new fabrics and materials for walls, roofs and floors are among the potential options.

A statement on the consultation said, “Improved energy efficiency from 2020 which will lead to a 37 per cent reduction in CO2 from new dwellings, compared with current standards, and save homeowners £180 a year on energy bills - based on a semi-detached home.”

Another consideration of the consultation documents is the issue of air quality. The document has highlighted the importance of ensuring a sufficient supply and means of removing air in spaces without potentially compromising energy efficiency measures that could make areas more airtight

The revised building standards proposed by the devolved authority should ensure a viable 75 per cent reduction in carbon emissions compared to the current standard of new builds, the consultation document claimed.

Interested parties have until 12 March to submit feedback on the consultation. The devolved authority said it also intends to launch a separate consultation on energy standards and decarbonisation in existing properties. This would also apply to both new and existing buildings used for non-domestic use.

Welsh housing minister Julie James said that homes are estimated to generate a fifth of UK greenhouse emissions. Addressing this output would require a number of new measures in order to ensure a planned elimination of 95 per cent of greenhouse gas output by 2050 that is set to be passed into law.

She added, “The new homes being built today will exist in 2050. Therefore, we must ensure the standards we set for these homes put us on the right path. This involves improving energy efficiency and moving to cleaner ways to heat our homes.”

“The proposed consultation, for implementation over the next five years, makes a strong and meaningful contribution to reducing the carbon and energy impact of new homes, while recognising our ambition needs to be balanced against the desire for standards to be cost-effective, affordable and practical.”

Efforts by the Welsh government to introduce more drastic carbon reduction targets follows similar commitments by devolved authorities in Scotland to introduce legislation that would make renewable-powered or low carbon heat mandatory in new homes from 2024.

The UK government has meanwhile said it will look to eliminate fossil fuel heat in new homes from 2025.

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