The solar sector has welcomed the UK government’s new 31% home carbon emissions reduction target.
According to Solar Energy UK, this target could lead to a five-fold increase in new homes built with solar technologies. This will help meet reduction targets. Many local Governments have detailed plans to radically improve the energy performance of new homes. It is targeting a 75-80% reduction in carbon emissions compared to current levels by 2025.
Scientists say that improving the energy performance of buildings will be vital to reaching net-zero by 2050.
The new standards will not only improve the energy efficiency of existing homes and other buildings. But will also ensure new homes are fit for the future, by reducing emissions from new homes by at least 75%.
The publication of the Future Homes Standard looks at delivering a 20% reduction in carbon emissions. Fabric standards are targeting a higher reduction by also including carbon-saving technologies. The new standard explores a number of technologies that could help reduce domestic carbon emissions. This supports green gas such as hydrogen and biomethane, as well as mechanical ventilation with heat recovery.
How the reductions are achieved will largely remain up to the housebuilder. However, it noted that it expects many to opt for solar PV as opposed to low carbon heating solutions.
As well as these new targets helping to drive down emissions in a particularly challenging sector. With 15% of the UK’s carbon emissions currently coming from residential housing. This will help tackle fuel poverty, reducing bills through efficiency. The document notes that households pay around £379 a year on energy under Buildings Regulations. But following the new standards, a house with a gas boiler and solar panels will pay closer to £168.
The greater ambition in the Future Homes Standard has been particularly welcomed after research by Solar Energy UK. The Solar Trade Association found in 2019 that over half of local authorities set higher building standards than national requirements.
Solar Energy UK chief executive Chris Hewett said they were delighted that the government had listened to their call for higher ambitions.
“Every new home built will require an increase in energy efficiency that could be met by solar. This is a real victory for our industry and an important stepping stone on the way towards a more ambitious future.
“The home of the future will feature solar panels and a battery. It may well be heated with electricity, have solar-heated water, and an electric vehicle parked outside. It will be well insulated, well built, and cost less to run than today. All the necessary technology exists at a reasonable cost. Housebuilders, let’s get started.”