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Appendix 4: Zero-carbon eco-renovation - Executive summary

Appendix 4: Zero-carbon eco-renovation


Contrary to the rather pessimistic conclusions of the “40% House” report (ECI2005), I believe that it should be possible to upgrade the great majority of buildings in the UK to a level comparable with a German “Passivhaus”71 so that little or no heating is required. If the much-reduced needs for heating are supplied via such things as solar water heaters and ground-source heat pumps powered by green electricity, then it should be possible to achieve zero emissions of CO2 or nearly so.

I believe that this kind of zero-carbon eco-renovation can be achieved by using existing techniques.72 Of these, the most important are likely to be:

Some attempts have been made to upgrade existing buildings along these lines73 but it is likely that significantly more can be achieved. There is a clear need for a series of Zero-Carbon Eco-Renovation Demonstrators, showing what can be achieved with different kinds of building: traditional bungalow, 1960s tower block, terrace house, suburban semi, etc.

The T-Zero project74 seems to be moving in this direction. The “BRE Victorian house of the future”75 is the kind of demonstrator project I have in mind.

Since external cladding is likely to change the appearance of buildings (not necessarily for the worse76), changes in planning law will probably be needed to permit this kind of upgrading, with the possible exception of buildings with great historical or aesthetic significance.

Appendix 5: Renewable sources of electricity and conservation of electricity


Sources of clean electricity for the UK, and methods of saving electricity, are briefly reviewed here, with an overall assessment of their potential:
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