The UK-GBC, and three other organisations, is to hold a consultation exploring ways in which carbon emissions can be reduced from the existing housing stock.
The UK Green Building Council has teamed up with the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes, the Sustainable Development Commission and the Technology Strategy Board to carry out a wide-reaching industry and stakeholder consultation on reducing carbon emissions in the existing housing stock.
The UK-GBC’s work will seek to involve as broad a range of stakeholders as possible through a 2-week online consultation period starting on 18th August at www.ukgbc.org and a workshop on 12th September.
The final report, to be completed at the end of September, will be sent to government and will recommend a series of measures for tackling carbon emissions in existing homes.
UK-GBC expects the proposals to be taken forward to the government consultation in the autumn leading to a ‘Low Carbon Homes Strategy’ in spring 2009, which government committed to in the recent draft Renewable Energy Strategy. The measures proposed will be designed to ensure government achieves its climate change targets.
The report will focus on the period up to 2022 (the end of the third ‘carbon budget’) and also include a high-level ‘roadmap’ to 2050 showing what needs to be done to remain on course for an 80% cut in carbon.
The Climate Change Committee is due to recommend later this year whether Government's 2050 target should increase beyond a 60% cut.
The online consultation will ask for feedback on four key issues papers on the following areas: technology and innovation; markets/service offerings; behaviour change and awareness; and policy.
To develop the papers, UK-GBC conducted a wide-ranging review of existing literature and reports that have been compiled over the last few years, in order to identify barriers to further progress and assess what solutions have already been proposed.
It is expected that the project will seek to find consensus on questions such as:
How do we ensure the supply chain has the capacity and the skills to be able to deliver on a much greater scale?
Does the householder, the tenant, or the landlord have all the information and advice to hand to make their decisions and choices easy?
Do we have the right long-term regulatory and policy framework in place to provide the industry with the certainty it needs in order to plan ahead?
Are the financial incentives and mechanisms in place for people to make cost-effective decisions?
Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK-GBC said: “Many people have used the phrase ‘elephant in the room’ to describe the challenge of cutting carbon emissions from the existing housing stock. But acknowledging the problem is not enough - we urgently need to deal with it.
“Escalating energy bills make it clear that tackling climate change by reducing our energy use can be good for our pocket as well as the planet. Not only that, but in a time of extreme economic difficulty for many businesses in the sector, a major push on retrofitting and refurbishment will open up new market opportunities worth literally billions of pounds.
“Cynics might say we’ve heard warm words from government before, but a legal obligation to reduce carbon emissions across the economy through the Climate Change Bill means that our homes will become the front line in our battle against climate change.
'I believe the Government’s commitment to delivering a Low Carbon Homes strategy now is a unique and genuine opportunity that we must all make the most of.
“The UK Green Building Council has been asked to lead a process of stakeholder engagement and consultation over the next few months, to help inform the development of Government policy. Industry needs clarity about the short, medium and long-term direction of travel so it can invest and skill-up appropriately.
'We also need to develop new and innovative methods of financing retrofitting and delivering the major improvements to our varied housing stock that are so acutely needed. Above all, government, industry and other interest groups need a clear and ambitious strategy that everyone has confidence will deliver.”