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Building emissions must fall 77% by 2050

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Green Construction Board recommends drastic action to meet green targets

Carbon emissions from UK buildings must fall by 77% by 2050 if Britain is to meet its carbon reduction targets, the government’s Green Construction Board has said.

Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP

Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP

The board, chaired by business minister Michael Fallon and Skanska chief executive Mike Putnam, was set up last year to improve sustainability in construction.

Former RIBA president Sunand Prasad and architect Lynne Sullivan of Sustainable by Design are among its members.

Its first annual report notes that emissions from the built environment have fallen from 230 million to 200 million between 1990 and 2010.

But emissions must fall to 46 million by 2050 if the government is to meet it ambitious carbon reduction targets.

The report cited domestic heating as the largest contributor to carbon emissions in the built environment.

Decarbonising the electricity grid while increasing the use of electric heating and improving heat retention in buildings is the best way to tackle the issue, the report added.

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Readers' comments (10)

  • bonkers

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  • sorry i realise previous comment was rather terse but it is surely apparent that if the massive improvements we have made to the energy performance of new buildings has (in spite of a substantial population rise) given a 15% reduction in emissions for the WHOLE of the building stock it is absolutely impossible to contemplate further reductions of 77%. How can he announce this with a straight face? I can oly think that the last point is relevant "decarbonising the energy grid" - i.e. nuclear

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  • We will never meet that target. Don't even bother trying.
    Simply make new builds as energy efficient as possible, obviously within the financial constrainsts of the times, and we will just have to live with the consequences.

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  • To meet the 77% target you would have to upgrade the entire building stock of the country, to a level which even buildings being built to the current Part L requirements would struggle to achieve.

    While 2050 appears a comfortable 38 years off, this would mean an absolutely masisve amount of investment being required on the many millions of buildings in the country, many of which are not readily adaptable (it might be cheaper and simpler to knock most of them down).

    It would also need to be balanced with the need to generate energy, but just where are all those solar panels and wind turbines going to go?

    Unless the government comes up with a credible plan as to how this is to be funded and managed I cannot see any realistic chance of a target coming even close to being achieved.

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  • zecks_marquise

    this is entirely achievable, because WW3 will annihilate 85% of the world population before 2050

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  • The Base Conference at Bradford Uni included a short talk by Skanska that explained that because they could get paid by the UK Government to burn bio fuel for the next 20 years. They would not be improving the insulation of that building. This is as a result of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payment system. The business case is that the RHI maintains energy waste. It does not encourage applicants to add any further insulation to their HQ building for 20 yrs. In short (RHI) actually pays compliant applicants to waste heat for 20 yrs because there is no base performance requirement on the inherent fuel efficiency of the building fabric being subsidised by the RHI. It seems that instead of SKANSKA being at the forefront of energy efficiency they are helping Government cook the books on Co2 accounting. Of course burning sustainable ( replaceable/ re-growable) energy sources is in the long term desirable over fossil fuels. But the RHI does nothing for the real Co2 accounting. SKANSKA seem to be window dressing and not giving a real commitment to reducing Co2 with thid particular measure. How have they managed to manoeuvre into this position of trust with the Government when they are more commercially astute than environmentally astute. It would seem that ££££ wins over environment again with these environmental leaders? All in the name of Sustainability! "stuff the environment?" PS. I questioned the speaker on this and he was clearly embarrassed to admit it at the time. PPS. I do hope that they can report that they have changed tack. PPPS Green Construction Board indeed. OWLarchitecture.com

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  • The Government are in a dream bubble someone needs to burst it.

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  • jonathan rowland you beat me to it. I'm finding the idea that we somehow solve the problem purely via new build pathetic. Anything built in the last 15 years or so isn't the problem. Staring out at the vast vistas of victorian terraces, thirties semis and sixties/seventies estates confirms where the problem lies. And no I don't sees either a realistic solution or a governmental clue what to do with this poorly performing historic building stock.

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  • Sustainability and electric heating ??? Nuclear power? The future is the past? When will they stop twisting sustainability to something, which just suits someone's commercial ideas?

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  • So many negative defeatist comments! Yes the challenge is huge, but the housing stock simply must be decarbonised (along with the rest of the economy) even if it does cost a fortune (which it will with the necessary deep re-fit, not the proposed Green Deal fiddle-around-the-edges rubbish)....The alternative will cost a lot more than mere money.

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