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Will Homes Be Net Zero By 2050

Net zero homes will be commonplace by 2050.

The UK Government has set in law a target to bring all its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 – are of the most ambitious targets in the world.

However – both new and existing homes account for 20% of emissions – meaning homes will be critical in ensuring this target is reached. This blog post investigates what needs to happen in order for the target to be achieved.

What is net zero?

Net zero refers to a state in which the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere are balanced by removal out of the atmosphere.

The term net zero is important because – for CO2 at least – this is the state at which global warming starts. The Paris Agreement underlines the need for net zero. It requires states to ‘achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century.

A net zero home, is therefore one that meets this target.


What is the government’s net zero target?

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government said in October 2019:

“Despite progress reducing emissions from homes we need to go much further. New homes being built now and in the next 5-10 years will still exist in 2050 and therefore we must ensure that the energy efficiency standards we set for them put us on track to meet the 2050 target.”

The net zero target was set out in the Climate Change Act 2008 (as amended in June 2019) and its aim is to reduce both carbon and greenhouse gas emission to net zero by 2050.

How achievable is the net zero homes goal?

The UK Green Building Council made some observations on the strategy:

  • Only with urgent measures and intervention can the UK deliver on its interim target to out 78% of emissions by 2035.
  • With homes responsible for 16% of total UK carbon emissions.

The BBC reported in December that net zero homes need £150bn and a workforce of 46,000.

Reducing energy demand in building is, according to the Climate Change Committee, “the biggest gap in current government energy policy.”

Lack of skilled tradespeople led to £53m of grant funding being returned to the government earlier this year.

Maxime Narburgh, from the Greater South East Net Zero Hub said, “We were allocated £78m and we weren’t able to spend all of that funding because we did not have enough installers with capacity to deliver in the region.

“It was incredibly disappointing. We’re here to support people to get more efficient homes. There was funding available to improve those homes, but just enough people to deliver that for us.

“We have around 29 million homes in the UK that need to have energy efficiency measures, low carbon heating and solar installed by 2050.”

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has announced £9.6m funding for 8,900 training courses in heat pump and energy efficiency installations.

The Business and Energy Minister Lordan Callanan said, “The green energy sector is driving growth and creating jobs right across the country, and this funding will make sure we have enough tradespeople trained up and able to take advantage of there opportunities.

“We are making homes greener and cheaper to keep warm and training thousands more skilled installers will ensure we keep accelerating the pace of creating cleaner and more energy efficient buildings.”

The government said it was “accelerating the pace of upgrading the energy efficiency of housing” with £6bn of funding committed to 2028, in addition to £6.6bn over the current parliament.

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