We need to invest in more energy efficient buildings

“The Carbon Trust estimates that investing in energy efficiency measures yields a return of between 15 and 17 per cent and nowhere is that investment more required than in buildings — commercial, public and domestic.” says an article on the telegraph.co.uk website by Andrew Charlesworth entitled Talking Energy: energy efficiency, where he goes on to state that “Buildings in the UK account for about 44 per cent of our carbon emissions, says the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Building improvements would save an equivalent of 36 million tCO2e (tons of CO2 equivalent) per year, and enhancing the efficiency of lighting and appliances could save 31 million tCO2e, according to McKinsey, a consultancy.”

“Energy efficiency must not be regarded as some kind of soft option or nice to have, but rather as a rigorous and vigorous action programme to reduce substantially the country’s demand for energy,” wrote former energy minister and MP for Croydon North Malcolm Wicks in his report Energy Security: A National Challenge in a Changing World, published last summer.

Andrew Charlesworth goes on to explain that “While new-build projects present the biggest opportunity to reduce emissions per building, in the UK 60 per cent of the premises we will still be using in 2050 are already built, according to the Carbon Trust. Heating and lighting domestic buildings account for about two-thirds of our emissions from buildings, so clearly this is where one solution lies to save money and carbon.”

“National Energy Action, a charity that campaigns for the eradication of fuel poverty (defined as households spending more than 10 per cent of their income on fuel), believes the Government should initiate a comprehensive retrofit of UK housing.”

“Improving the thermal efficiency of the housing stock is the core intervention that can be made in the eradication of fuel poverty,” says Jenny Saunders, chief executive of NEA.

“There is already an established measure of a building’s thermal efficiency — the Energy Performance Certificate, which is mandatory for houses sold after October 2008. An average 80-year-old terraced home with 100m2 floor space has an energy efficiency of only about 50 per cent.” states Andrew in his extremely helpful article article. He goes on to encourage us to improve the energy efficiency of our homes, which “can be increased up to 80 per cent by conventional retrofit measures, such as loft and cavity wall insulation, double glazing and low-energy lighting. Saunders argues that every UK home needs to be upgraded to at least this level, and preferably to be 81-91 per cent energy efficient.”


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