LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 06: The Azure Pavilion by KPF is seen on show at the London Design Festival at the Festival Arts Centre on February 6, 2017 in London, England. The pavilion was created for the event and will be on display until the 24th February. (Photo by Tom Allan/Getty Images)
Official: ‘We’re all in the same boat’ as tackling climate change ‘as one community,’ one manufacturer says
The head of building insulation products manufacturer Lend Lease said he is predicting a boom in the UK’s net zero homes market in 2018 as builders push their houses to a world-first net zero carbon level.
“We’re all in the same boat,” said John McCallum, COO, Lend Lease. “To survive, the economy is in decline and that means you have to really look at how you grow. We want a strong UK economy but we want to do it in a sustainable way.”
Net zero homes will rely on low carbon power for heating and cooling from locally produced renewable energy plants in a country that has less than a quarter of its electricity currently generated by wind and solar power.
On average, houses built now can’t make ends meet due to rising energy bills.
In a move that sets an example for a wider housing sector that is reluctant to embrace green issues, today the government is set to announce its plans to build half a million zero carbon homes by 2050.
The buildings will be equipped with a range of more than 650 environmentally friendly products, the most cost-effective of which is the ultra wide-scale collection of triple glazing.
The manufacture of the mass-produced product is already one of the most energy efficient processes that exists. Climate Concerns Facts
The UK’s quest to build more zero carbon homes is part of a global trend. A 2016 UN report predicted that by 2050, zero-carbon housing will outnumber the current world-leading “High Performance” properties.
But the rapid uptake of net zero homes hasn’t been without setbacks.
Earlier this year, the UK was left embarrassed after it said it would have less than five minutes of net zero electricity power in every home by 2028 – a figure dramatically lower than earlier estimates.
Some other countries have shown a lack of ambition when it comes to zero carbon building. In 2011, in Ireland, 58.4 percent of new homes met net zero performance criteria, but the sector is now in the doldrums, with net zero homes falling even further behind before 2017’s data is made available.
However, some countries, such as Australia, have made an effort to tackle the problem head on.
Concerns: Concerned about the disastrous effects of climate change on our society
The most recent data, from May 2016, shows just nine percent of new homes meet net zero performance standards, but is that the result of a government pushing the wrong buttons? The current head of the Department for Environment’s Office for Policy and Information says no.
In October 2012, the Australian government outlined its Climate Change Plan, the first ever comprehensive plan to address the issues of Australia’s carbon emissions and climate change.
The government has so far established targets to reduce the average level of greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2030.
One of the key targets in this plan is to make 50 percent of Australia’s new homes net zero carbon.
Denmark has tried to tackle the problem by implementing the first national standard for builders and tradesmen, Kianso Construction Standards, in 2010.
Climate Concerns Facts
The homebuilding industry is at a crossroads. Work on modernisation, which would increase the building sector’s contribution to climate change reduction, was vital to secure the sector’s future.
Despite ambitious targets, development of energy-efficient homes is a rarity in the UK, with 37,000 homes being certified as net zero in 2015, equivalent to just 0.3 percent of all new built homes.
An effort by the European Parliament and the UK government to raise the baseline level of the net zero building requirement from 36 to 40 percent by 2020 has met opposition from some in the building industry.
However, using both solutions, most homes in London are now deemed to meet the requirement. The European parliament, in response to this growing demand, has voted that the target should increase to 45 percent.
“We’re bringing together the skills and technical processes of building,” said McCallum. “You need a huge team of tradespeople that are moving back and forth on building sites.�