WATCH: BEIS director outlines vision for a zero-carbon built environment

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy's (BEIS) Director of energy efficiency Ben Golding has outlined the "win-wins" that can be generated by businesses and public sector organisation by mobilising action towards a zero-carbon built environment by 2050.

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Golding, who was speaking at edie’s SPARK! Energy Leaders Club event in Birmingham last week, noted the importance of emissions from the UK’s building portfolio reaching zero by 2050 in order to reach long-term climate targets.

The Director of energy efficiency took to the stage to note the Department’s own efforts to decarbonise its offices. Last month, BEIS announced a new commitment to edie’s Mission Possible Pledge Wall, detailing plans to undertake an energy audit at its London headquarters to support its previously stated ambition to reduce emissions from the Department’s estate by 66% by 2020.

Golding also highlighted some of the mechanisms included in the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy and how these could be used to decarbonise energy and heat for the built environment.

The Strategy includes a “package of measures” to support business to improve energy productivity by at least 20% by 2030. This will lead to the establishment of an Industrial Energy Efficiency scheme to help large companies cut energy use and bills. Golding noted that this would create “win-wins” for businesses, including annual energy cost savings of up to £6bn.

Golding also alluded to Theresa May’s to halve the energy use from new buildings by 2030 as an example of the Government’s commitment to clean growth through its Industrial Strategy.

Clean Growth Strategy

As part of the Clean Growth Strategy, around £3.6bn of investment has been set aside to upgrade around 500,000 homes through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), and the Government has extended support on domestic energy-efficiency improvements from 2022 to 2028.

A long-term trajectory to improve energy performance standards – including upgrading private rented homes to Energy Performance Certificate Band C – will also be developed, but only where “cost-effective and affordable”.

All fuel-poor homes will be upgraded to Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2030, and an aspiration is in place for as many homes as possible to reach this level on energy performance. Again, this will only be targeted where “practical, cost-effective and affordable”.

As for low-carbon heat, the Government has launched a £320m scheme to help accelerate the adoption of low-carbon technologies across the UK's public, private and domestic sectors.

Also speaking at the SPARK! event was former National Grid boss Steve Holliday, who championed the role that businesses and innovators have played in igniting a "chaotic revolution" in the energy sector, by accelerating demand for renewable energy and battery storage installations. Watch Holliday’s comments here.

Matt Mace


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