The Committee On Climate Change
CPV: 73000000, Application Closing Date: 21/02/2018
Heating and hot water for UK buildings make up around 40% of our energy consumption and 20% of our greenhouse gas emissions. It will be necessary to largely eliminate these emissions by around 2050 to meet the targets in the Climate Change Act and to maintain the UK contribution to international action under the Paris Agreement.
Our advice in this area has been set out in a range of publications including our 2015 Sectoral scenarios for the fifth carbon budget, and more recently Next Steps for UK Heat Policy, our 2017 Report to Parliament and our Independent assessment of the UK’s Clean Growth Strategy. We have used these reports to reiterate the importance of developing options to allow near-zero emissions in buildings by 2050 and of setting appropriate standards.
Whilst the least-cost mix of technologies to remove emissions from heating is not yet known, it is likely to require both high standards of energy efficiency and the installation of low carbon heating systems (such as heat pumps, connections to heat networks, or conversion to hydrogen).
The carbon savings which can be delivered through buildings are not just limited to those ‘operational’ savings associated with decarbonising heating, or reducing the use of electricity. In addition there is potential to deliver further abatement through the materials and construction methods used in the building itself. In particular, the use of wood in construction can both displace carbon intensive alternatives such as steel and store biogenic carbon.
To meet current housing needs and accommodate a growing population, up to 5 million new homes may need to be built by 2030 and 8 million by 2050 (around a fifth of the housing stock). Action is needed urgently to ensure that these new buildings are fit for the future,
avoiding the need for costly retrofit. This means ensuring they are able to deliver the necessary carbon savings, alongside high levels of comfort and reduced bills for householders.
A range of policy ambitions have been set out in the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, including a commitment to consult in 2019 on improving standards for new homes and commercial buildings ‘where there are cost-effective and affordable opportunities, and where it is safe and practical to do so’.
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