technology

Low carbon buildings

Reed Street zero carbon homesSinclair Meadows carbon negative homes – image (c) Fitz Architects

The UK government has set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 [1]. The built environment accounts for around 40% [2] of the UK’s carbon emissions, with residential buildings contributing 69.1 MtCO2e, or 15% of the UK’s total 451.5 MtCO2e current emissions [3].

In order to tackle this issue, new builds, from 2025 will have to comply with the Future Homes Standard, ensuring they have low carbon heating and high levels of insulation. However, this policy does not address the problem that 80% of the buildings that will exist in 2050 have already been built [4], thus a major priority is decarbonising our existing stock.

Prior to the Future Homes Standard, there was the Code for Sustainable Homes, which had a target of 2016 for all new build domestic properties to be zero carbon, and 2019 for all new build non-domestic to be zero carbon. This legislation was revoked in 2015.

There are numerous examples of low, zero and carbon negative buildings across the UK, such as Sinclair Meadows, which we worked on the design and energy strategy for in 2009. However, despite this, there is no wide scale construction of such buildings in the UK, very few new builds reach the levels required in order to support the 2050 target. Additionally, there are issues with electrical infrastructure of new build estates which prevent the mass installation of renewable energy systems, electrification of heat, and electric car charging.

We can work with you on your new build design, ensuring that the buildings, taking a fabric first approach, designing energy systems, and also arranging the grid connection. Additionally, we can undertake an ISO 14040/44 compliant LCA to help you understand the embedded impacts.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-becomes-first-major-economy-to-pass-net-zero-emissions-law
[2] https://www.ukgbc.org/climate-change/
[3] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/final-uk-greenhouse-gas-emissions-national-statistics-1990-to-2018
[4] https://www.ukgbc.org/climate-change/

Offerings

  • Energy efficiency audits
  • Thermal imaging surveys
  • Working with architects to produce low carbon solutions
  • Assistance with planning applications
  • Renewable energy and low carbon technology feasibility studies
  • Feasibility of a wide range of renewable and low carbon technologies
  • Sizing of energy systems
  • Design of energy systems
  • Advice on the correct designs for buildings to take full advantage of renewable and low carbon buildings
  • Detailed monitoring of existing buildings
  • Fabric first approach to building design and retrofit
  • Site specific design
  • ISO 14040/44 compliant Life Cycle Assessment to understand embedded emissions
  • Grid connection
  • Off-grid feasibility studies