Reducing emissions from the built Environment

built environment

Reducing emissions from the built Environment

Reducing emissions from the built environment in Wales is a key part of tackling climate change – carbon emissions attributed to buildings represents approximately 30% of total emissions; the residential sector alone is responsible for 24% of emissions covered by the 3% annual reduction target.

The Climate Change Commission for Wales believes it is vital that Wales reduces emissions from the built environment. Our top asks are:

*Commitment to energy efficiency as a long-term national infrastructure plan priority backed up with a multi-billion pound capital investment programme that can leverage in private funding and gives the same clarity, purpose and focus as other major infrastructure project in Wales.

*Support a national retrofit programme and set a minimum goal for all homes in Wales to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate of Band C by 2025 to support a reduction in fuel poverty.

*Commit to making all new homes zero carbon from 2016 and all new non-domestic buildings zero carbon from 2019 so Wales can continue to demonstrate leadership in this sector.

*Maximise the value of the smart meter roll-out in Wales by

a)making it central to their energy efficiency programme and providing added value investment to maximise the opportunity as the most significant transformation for energy consumers b)Implementing in parallel appropriate engagement and behaviour change interventions for all communities

Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan to support infrastructure projects that support Green Growth, reduce emissions during construction and lifetime, and are resilient to the impacts of climate change

*Recognise the value of Green Infrastructure (GI) in delivering cost effective interventions for health and wellbeing, economic development, social inclusion, social justice and climate change.

Across Wales there is a growing number of businesses and organisations building sustainable homes and workplaces as well as adapting existing  buildings to become  energy efficient. Here  are just two examples of exciting projects.

Solcer House

The Welsh School of Architecture designed and built Wales’ first low cost energy smart house which is capable of exporting more energy to the national electricity grid than it uses. The Solcer House’s unique design combines renewable energy supply, thermal and electrical energy storage and reduced energy demand to create an energy positive house.  The components of the building have been sourced, as far as reasonably practicable, from Welsh manufacturers and installers and demonstrates advanced Welsh construction technologies. The low carbon systems have been designed to be affordable and replicable, for small to medium size enterprises, using market available technologies. This systems approach aims to use a very low amount of energy to provide a comfortable environment for building occupants and more are planned to be built in 2016. These are the types of houses that the CCCW would like to be built across Wales and supported by Welsh Government.

More information on the website.

National Museum for Wales

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum of Wales has implemented a range of energy efficiency measures and retrofitted many of their properties. Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum of Wales runs 7 sites throughout the country with collections from art, library, archaeology, natural sciences and industrial history. All of their sites are either listed buildings or scheduled ancient monuments and as the galleries require tight environmental controls in order to conserve their valuable collections made the  retrofitting quite a challenge. Following a series of energy assessments and training carried out by the Carbon Trust, a range of energy saving measures have been installed. In National Museum Cardiff lighting controls and LEDs have been installed and the old boiler replaced with a combined heat and power unit which runs on gas and produces electricity with heat as a side product. Inverters were installed in the dehumidifier units and fans ventilating the galleries enabling the Museum to control the speed at which they run thereby saving power. In St Fagans, the old heat pump was replaced with an air source heat pump and Big Pit now runs on solar energy as opposed to coal.

More information here.

The challenge now is to make all buildings in Wales as resource-efficient and low-carbon as possible.  80% of the proposed 2050 building stock is already in existence therefore to achieve the 2050 targets, around 62,500 properties per year must be refurbished to high energy standards.

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