Home energy use in the UK is currently responsible for producing more than 27% of all carbon emissions.
Whereas progress to reduce this is being made by improving the energy performance of new build properties, we must face the huge challenge of addressing existing, older inefficient properties, many of which will still be standing and occupied by 2050.
Such inefficient homes account for more than 90% of the existing housing stock, which highlights the importance of adapting them to suit 21st century living. Improving the thermal efficiency of existing properties will not only help meet the challenges of climate change, it will help householders tackle rising fuel costs, encourage well being and a provide a healthier living environment.
As part of Huntingdonshire District Council’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change, we have purchased two properties, which will be ‘sustainably’ refurbished and opened up to the public as demonstration homes.
In Huntingdonshire approximately 67,000 homes are privately owned. There is huge potential to improve the energy and water efficiency of the properties, which will help to reduce the district’s carbon footprint and bring existing homes up to a higher level of environmental performance.
The UK Government is committed to reducing carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050.
If we are to reduce our carbon emissions and help slow down the effects of climate change we need a step change in our thinking – the way we live, travel and refurbish our properties plays a major part in that. It’s important for the Green House Project to demonstrate and influence sustainable refurbishment and to encourage a ‘low carbon lifestyle’.
The district council is working with the Building Research Establishment (BRE), whose expertise and guidance is integral to the project. The BRE will be providing the specifications for the improvements, which will be based around the results of extensive thermal and acoustic testing which has already been undertaken in both of the houses.
The Green House Project will take a ‘whole house’ approach to refurbishment, starting with the building fabric and insulation, windows, heating systems, ventilation, water efficiency measures and the installation of renewable energy technology including solar thermal for hot water and solar photovoltaics (PV) for energy.