Community planning: Low Carbon Communities
Low carbon communities
The Green Deal – a radically new approach
National and local authority carbon reduction targets
There is an urgent need to reduce carbon emissions from buildings. Some 28% of total national carbon emissions are generated by the housing stock. Agreed national carbon reduction targets cannot be met unless this is reduced substantially and soon:
- 80% of 2050 housing stock is already built – eco-retrofitting is therefore the major challenge - inherently more difficult than increasing standards of new build;
- Social housing – new build has to comply with Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable homes and retrofitting has to go beyond the Decent Homes Standard – Local Housing Authorities and Registered Social Landlords (commonly referred to as housing associations) are leading the way in both new build carbon reductions and eco-retrofitting;
- Private housing – pre-1919 terraced housing is the biggest challenge because walls without cavities are expensive to insulate.
The legal framework for a £90 billion investment programme to 2020 – aims to retrofit 600,000 dwellings per year:
- Climate Change Act 2008: government committed to legally binding target for reducing carbon emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050;
- Energy Act 2008: provided powers for Feed-inTariffs to promote renewable energy generation;
- 2009 government commitment to European Union to increase energy from renewable sources to 15% by 2020, from 2.25% in 2008 – i.e. a sevenfold increase;
- UK Low Carbon Transition Plan 2009 - Energy, Housing and Communities component includes target of reducing emissions from homes by 29% on 2008 levels by 2030;
- Energy Act 2011 provides the powers for the Green Deal.
The Feed-in Tariff - subsidy system for household and neighbourhood renewable energy generation through micro-generation installations.