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Net Zero Strategy: the new zero carbon emissions standards for the UK

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Net Zero Strategy: the new zero carbon emissions standards for the UK

By EnviroVent Oct 30, 2022

In October 2021, the UK government published its Zero Net Carbon strategy; a series of measures, targets, and deadlines aiming to “decarbonise all sectors of the UK economy to meet our net zero target by 2050”. In this article, we will explain what net zero means, outline the key objectives and planned measures, and consider what this might mean for property developers.

What does ‘net zero’ actually mean?

With the effects of the increase in the global temperature already clearly evident in the form of droughts, flooding, and fires reported across the world, it has never been more apparent that the issue of climate change must be addressed. According to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018, human-induced global warming reached approx. 1°C above pre-industrial levels in 2017. The same study warns of the consequences should we fail to limit this continuing increase in temperature to 1.5°C.

Among the possible risks are an impact on water availability, heat extremes, the bleaching of the coral reefs, and more. The IPCC calls for a strengthened global response, and for the UK government, this response is the Net Zero Strategy. The strategy aims to reduce climate-damaging emissions and decarbonise all sectors of the UK economy, from transport to agriculture. The government’s strategy report claims that, with greenhouse gas emissions having been reduced by 44% since 1990, the strategy represents the government’s attempt “to finish the job and end the UK’s domestic contribution to man-made climate change by 2050”.

What are the key measures to be implemented in order to achieve the set targets?

In order to break what is a long-term strategy into “bite-sized chunks”, the strategy defines interim targets concerning a number of key carbon-producing sectors.  Below is an overview of the government’s key commitments…

 

  • The end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, with all new cars and vans to be zero emission at the tailpipe by 2035.
  • Levelling up, through support for 175,000 green skilled jobs by 2030, and 240,000 by 2035.
  • Aiming to phase out the installation of new and replacement natural gas boilers by 2035.
  • Making heat pumps as inexpensive to buy and run as gas boilers, in addition to the provision of financial support to households in this transition.
  • Consulting on phasing out the dirtiest and most expensive fossil fuels first.
  • Helping houses and businesses reduce their energy bills, while making buildings healthier and more comfortable.
  • Upgrading fuel poor homes to EPC Band C by 2030, where reasonably practicable.
  • Setting long-term regulatory standards to upgrade privately rented homes to EPC band 3 by 2028.
  • Establishing large scale trials of hydrogen for heating with a view to taking decisions in 2026 on the role of hydrogen in decarbonising heating.

What changes can we expect to affect home building?

It is apparent from the above (non-exhaustive) list of government commitments, that the construction and housing sector is very much central to the Net Zero strategy. In actual fact, the tagline for the 2021 document is “Build Back Greener”, hinting at the significant role of green construction, heating, and ventilation in achieving the government’s ambitious targets. This comes as little surprise, with the Committee on Climate change stating that “UK homes are not fit for the future”, and claiming that, without major improvement, objectives will not be met, with the quality of existing and new homes playing “an important role in safeguarding people’s health and wellbeing, and in addressing climate change”.

As discussed in detail in previous articles, this has resulted a number of regulatory changes and proposals, each with a direct impact on ventilation planning in new build projects:

- Amendments to Approved Document F; the building regulations concerning ventilation, air flow within buildings, air quality, and indoor pollution values. These changes came into effect in June 2022.

- The Future Homes and Building Standard – a UK government commitment outlining new standards, guidelines, and regulations, aiming to ensure that all new homes built from 2025 will produce 75-80% less carbon emissions than homes delivered under current regulations.

- The Heat and Buildings Strategy, published in October 2021, sets a goal to decarbonise the heat and buildings sector by between 47% to 62% by 2035, with pledged funding of £3.9 billion planned to assist with the phasing out of natural gas boilers.

Be sure to check out our other articles for more detailed information concerning Approved Document F and the Future Homes and Building Standard.

If you are a home builder looking to get ahead of the market, contribute to the effort to achieve net zero carbon emissions, and appeal to a new, more environmentally conscious home buyer - with new standards, regulations and guidance being issued on a regular basis, there is a lot to get to grips with. Fortunately, when it comes to planning the optimal ventilation system for your project, the team at EnviroVent are on hand with expert advice and assistance.

Contact us now for help identifying which regulations apply to your project, and which ventilation system would be best suited to your requirements.