A hard-hitting report that says UK housing is unfit for the future challenges of climate change has been welcomed by Leeds sustainable developers Citu.
The UK Housing: Fit for the future? study by the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says the Government must act now to improve the quality of UK homes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and safeguard residents’ comfort, health and wellbeing.
It warns that the legally-binding climate change targets will not be met without the near-complete elimination of greenhouse gas emissions from UK buildings, and it calls for a ban on gas boilers and hobs in all new homes by 2025.
The report says that emission reductions from the UK’s 29 million homes have stalled, while energy use in homes – which accounts for 14% of total UK emissions – increased between 2016 and 2017 – a damning statistic.
Chris Thompson, Managing Director of Leeds-based Citu – which has won more than 70 awards for its sustainable developments and designs – believes the industry reform is long over-due and agrees new legislation is now needed to force housebuilders to comply.
“Alongside many other industries such as motoring and fashion, the housing industry is very good at burying its head in the sand and ignoring the data that is screaming for changes to take place to help tackle climate control. It has to be industry-wide and we welcome anything that pushes this issue up the national agenda, including new legislation to force housebuilders to adopt sustainable practices on future housing stock in the UK.
“The technology is already here, it’s scaleable, affordable and will help drive down those green-house gas emissions. I believe current UK building standards are inadequate and the recommendations in the report on both retro fitting and new builds are the way forward – it is something Citu has been campaigning and delivering for some time now but we don’t want to be – and shouldn’t be – in the minority.”
The CCC report highlights the government aims to build 300,000 new homes in England a year; building them to a higher standard is far cheaper than retrofitting later on. But it also stressed performance standards are often not enforced, meaning people are being “cheated” with homes not at the level claimed – CCC believe this is a scandal on the same scale as the Volkswagen emission testing.
The report also includes an appendix chart that shows homes with space heating requirements on 15kwh/m2/yr as the standard to work towards. Citu is already building homes with heating requirements as low as 6.8kwh/m2/yr – less than half of the energy standard being asked for by CCC.
Chris added: “Citu is already ahead of where this report is saying we need to be by 2025 and as more and more house buyers are asking questions about the environmental footprint of their next home, it is crucial the industry delivers not only the right homes its customers are demanding but play their part in combating climate change. It’s also crucial that new housing suburbs are developed in the right places; building in and around city centres dramatically reduces the number of cars on the roads.”
What else makes a Citu home so energy efficient?
The Citu Home is so efficient because a super-insulated air tight thermal envelope locks heat in. Then a Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation (MVHR) system brings a constant flow of fresh air in, which is warmed by outgoing warm air. Over 90% of heat is transferred, so the home’s heating requirements are up 10 times lower than a traditionally built home.
This means the home’s tiny heating requirements can be met by using 100% renewable electricity, provided by an energy cooperative, which owns the solar panel PV arrays that serve the Citu homes and provides electricity from 100% renewable sources.