Carbon Neutral Housing
You get into a time machine and set the controls to 2050. Step out, and what will you find? If all goes to plan, the UK economy will be at ‘zero carbon’.
This is not science fiction; it is a legal commitment by the UK government and housing will be a huge part of this.
The Committee on Climate Change, which monitors Britain’s progress on climate targets, said in 2018 that this is not possible “without near complete decarbonisation of the housing stock”.
But how will we shrink our carbon footprint this much? And what role will the built environment play?
What is a zero-carbon home?
Simply put, a zero-carbon home is one that is responsible for emitting net zero in greenhouse gas emissions.
Building a home emits carbon – in the materials used and construction. Then so does heating and electricity use. Most experts recommend first making sure that the building is as energy efficient as possible before ‘offsetting’ the remaining emissions with renewables.
How much more efficient the building should be, and how much renewables can be used, is controversial.
Material choices are significant, but they are not currently addressed in policy: for example, making a tonne of traditional concrete emits about half a tonne of carbon dioxide.
Another complication is the ‘performance gap’ –a building may on paper be meant to reach a certain specification of energy efficiency, but depending on the quality of construction, that may or may not be achieved.
We’re changing the way people live by changing the homes they live in. Constantly innovating and striving to achieve our zerocarbon vision: find out why A Different Approach is at the apex of sustainable home design.
We’ve worked tirelessly to ensure our Zero Carbon designed Smart Homes are the embodiment of sustainable living. Instead of burning through fossil fuels, our homes implement state-ofthe-art technologies to regulate energy usage efficiently and generate clean energy from the sun.
We’re proud to be striving to make zero-carbon living an achievable reality and recognise a pound spent on energy for a young family is a pound that could be spent on a mortgage and for an older population the same is true that a pound spent on energy is a pound that could be spent on retirement and social care.
With just a few years left to avoid climate catastrophe, we need to tackle a massive driver of global heating – our buildings.
How we build new ones, how we use the ones we currently have, and how we make old ones more efficient. Construction and use of buildings is responsible for 39% of global energy-related emissions, according to the World Green Building Council – so a more sustainable approach is crucial as we fight to reach net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible. But focusing on sustainability can also create places we are truly happy to live, work and play in.
Buildings that are more comfortable, more beautiful, and that reconnect us with nature. The task ahead is huge, but we can do it if we keep two key principles in mind. The first is considering the carbon impact of a building’s entire life – from the creation of the first brick or roof beam, to how the building performs a century later. Second, we need to make sustainable buildings that really meet people’s needs and desires – recognising that green design is an opportunity, not a burden.