Friday, 9 July 2021

Net Zero Carbon Emissions, What Does It Mean?

We’ve all be talking about the 2050 deadline the Government has set, but what is it going to take for us to reach?


Thankfully this initiative is going to open up many jobs for the construction industry and after the last year it couldn’t come at a better time. In order to reach these targets it’s not just new builds which have to be held accountable, but also existing homes. We currently have roughly 7-8 million lofts which need more insulation, roughly 19-20 million uninsulated floors and 4-5 million uninsulated cavity walls. All of these need to be upgraded in order to reach the target!


They sound like huge numbers, and I am in no way suggesting it’s going to be easy, but in the grand scheme of things, with the right task force, I have every faith. 


While it is relatively easy to build energy efficient homes, it isn’t always as easy to upgrade older builds. Not only were they built to completely different standards, they potentially used different materials and techniques. Also, let’s face it, everything is always harder to fit in retrospect. 


What we have to remember is that if we’re going to achieve net zero we need all four nations to be on board and singing from the same hymn sheet. Scotland has actually said it will be net zero by 2045, 5 years earlier than the rest of the UK. That’s quite a challenge, but who am I to argue? 


Unfortunately, it seems that when building, a lot of us are more concerned with what our homes look like and not how they perform. I can understand this logic, we’re human, we’re visual creatures, we want our homes to look nice, but we shouldn’t disregard our home’s energy efficiency. What we need to remember is that the better performing homes are cheaper to run. So, not only is the Government trying to reach its target of 2050, it is also helping to reduce the energy costs. The more the energy efficient your home is, the less you’ll be paying out in monthly bills. So actually, it’s a win win. 


There are many schemes happening now which offer home owners the opportunity to upgrade things, such as loft insulation and cavity wall insulation. The Government will pay a certain percentage towards the costs, and in some cases you wouldn’t have to pay a penny! It’s always worth checking your local Council’s site to see what schemes they have taking place in your area. 


As well as homes, it is also important, actually vital, for businesses to decarbonise. As political figures met at the G7 last month it became evident that there seems to be growing support for investment in green sectors. It’s become fairly obvious that without reducing the energy demand you won’t reduce the emissions. We, collectively, need to take away the energy demand and replace it with something much more energy efficient to continue down the path of net zero carbon emissions.


The goal with our builds is, as stated, to have net zero energy use. This means that homes, new builds or refurbishments, must produce enough energy to meet the needs of the build, for example the hot water and heating etc. Although up-front these homes can cost more to build, in the long run you recoup the costs from the money saved in bills. 




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