DECC and Defra published the government’s official response to the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) most recent progress report to Parliament on climate change mitigation and adaption on 15 October 2015.
The response includes the Government’s position on the CCC’s recommendations relating to the mitigation of carbon emissions in the built environment and on the adaption of our stock.
The report states that “Reducing emissions from buildings will require improved energy efficiency measures and changes to heating systems in properties. The Government is committed to considering both together through a stable long-term framework which explores the potential role of regulation, and to thinking about them from the perspective of consumers, home-owners, landlords, tenants and industry.”
“We are currently considering the right long-term framework for the home energy efficiency market…The longer-term future of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is part of these considerations. The design of any future schemes beyond ECO, which runs until March 2017, will ensure that we meet our targets for homes insulated while also supporting our commitment to tackle fuel poverty and ensuring good value for money.”
On the decision not to implement the planned zero carbon standard for new homes, the Government states “…the Allowable Solutions carbon off-setting element, would have placed a significant regulatory burden on the house building industry. In the last Parliament, the Government strengthened the energy efficiency requirements for new homes twice. The latest change to the energy efficiency requirements only came into force in April 2014 and new homes will continue to be built to these high standards.”
Upcoming EU obligations are also referenced: “In regard to energy efficiency standards for new buildings, the Government must also meet its obligations set out in the European Commission’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. As part of this the Government must report to the Commission in 2017 to ensure that UK building standards remain ‘cost optimal’ and that all new buildings are ‘nearly zero energy buildings’ from 2021.”
On adaptation, the response acknowledges that “Climate change also presents a greater risk of overheating in buildings. We agree with the importance of this issue, as identified by the Committee and supported by the evidence of the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment. We will consider and support research to understand better what an overheating standard might look like and the options to help industry and others address the risks. However, we need to explore further the associated costs and benefits of different options before making a commitment as to how we will reduce the risk.”
“The Government will consider the findings of the recent Zero Carbon Hub work and of potential research to explore strategies to help industry and others address overheating risks more successfully.”