Today (November 11) COP26 will focus on cities, regions and the built environment. Here are the stories, facts and insights to get you inspired and up to speed.
The big issue: transforming UK homes
The UK won’t become zero carbon without action to cut emissions from our homes. This government investment, particularly in building the workforce to take on the job – as our Cities Manager Cara Jenkinson explained in her response to the government’s recent heat and buildings strategy.
She said: “The majority of homes in the UK must be made more energy efficient before gas boilers are replaced, otherwise electricity costs faced by households will rocket. After several false starts, government must set out long-term policy to encourage home insulation.
“According to the Climate Change Committee, nearly 11 million homes need to move from gas to renewable heat sources by 2035. The government has set a target of installing 600,000 heat pumps each year by 2028 – whilst the number installed is increasing, just 60,000 were installed last year in UK homes. A major ramp-up of retrofit and heat pump installation is needed, but we don’t have enough skilled builders and heat engineers to meet this challenge.”
Proven solutions from two climate pioneers
Proven solutions to the problem already exist. Outstanding pioneers include Kensa Group, winner of the 2021 Ashden Award for Climate Innovation. Kensa’s innovative ground source heat pumps and shared ground loop arrays deliver efficient and affordable heating, tackling a major source of carbon emissions and reducing fuel poverty.
Tenants in social housing have seen their heating costs halved – while Kensa is also investing in developing skills and training, and engaging in political lobbying to increase the uptake of this game-changing, low-carbon heating technology.
Manchester’s Carbon Co-op, winner of the 2021 Ashden Award for Green Skills, has trained more than 1,000 builders to deliver home energy efficiency upgrades. The co-op’s flexible and practical approach includes virtual workshops and on-site ‘toolbox talks’, while its networks help builders find projects and contracts to use their new skills.
A key role for councils
When it comes to creating energy-efficient homes, local authorities have a huge role to play. Opportunities include marketing and communication around possible solutions, ensuring the trust of residents, building local skills and supply chains, and upgrading social housing. Read more – and see how authorities can overcome barriers to progress – in our guest blog from the UK Green Building Council.
Transforming housing will be on the agenda at our post-COP26 and net zero strategy briefing for local authorities, taking place at 10am on Tuesday 30 November. Registration for this webinar is open now. And there are many more resources, insight and case studies for councils on our Learning Out Loud pages.