The industry needs to be re-engineered if energy saving measures to reduce carbon dioxide by 80% are to become more affordable and attractive to consumers.
Unveiling a new report at Ecobuild this week, Retrofit Revealed, Ian Meikle, head of the Low Impact Buildings programme at the Technology Strategy Board, said: “Our study shows that technically we can cut carbon dioxide emissions in the existing stock by 80% and therefore meet the government’s reduction targets of 80% by 2050. But this costs more than consumers would be willing to pay.
“Studies have shown that the consumers would consider measures that cost between £10,000 and £20,000. But to cut emissions by 60% costs £30,000- £35,000, and above that costs get even higher.
“The industry needs to go back to the drawing board and go through a process of re-engineering and look at how it could operate to drive out costs and increase performance.
“One example may be for wall, insulation and ventilation suppliers to come together and develop integrated systems.”
Meikle’s comments underscore the findings of the Green Construction Board’s newly published route map, which sets out how the industry is to achieve an 80% reduction in carbon emissions. It says that meeting the 80% reduction target is technically possible, but very challenging and that success is dependent on improving the economic viability of technical solutions and addressing market failures.
Presenting the findings, former chief construction adviser Paul Morrell said there was no chance of the built environment delivering its share of the government’s legally binding carbon targets without major additional regulation. Morrell said: “My personal view is that the assumptions the model makes are so heroic that I don’t believe anyone will believe it will happen in the timeframe.”
The TSB studied the performance of 100 homes across the UK, which had been refurbished with the aim of achieving an 80% reduction in the in-use CO2 emissions.
The properties were mainly two-storey dwellings with two or more bedrooms. Of 37 properties included in this analysis, three achieved a reduction in CO2 emissions equivalent to over 80% compared with 1990 average levels. A further 23 achieved a reduction in CO2 emissions equivalent to between 50% and 80%.
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