The Active Building Centre Research Programme is researching and developing innovative tools and technologies that will ensure buildings of all scales contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions and a more sustainable built environment.
In 2015 the United Nations announced its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development within which 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) are identified. This agenda, agreed by all member states, reflects an overarching ambition for “peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future”. The agenda highlights that across the globe, while our specific contexts may differ, we all share the same foundational needs and that we are interconnected in multiple ways.
The 6th Carbon Budget, released in December 2020, sets out national decarbonisation pathways to 2050 across all sectors. Following these pathways, we can expect an installation rate of about 415,000 heat pumps per year by 2025, rising to over 1 million installations per year by 2030. Electrification of space heating is gathering pace, and with it, intelligent energy management is moving from being beneficial to being necessary to ensure the resilience of the power grid.
These are, or at least should be, commonly made arguments now; buildings account for around 20% of UK carbon emissions and an estimated 80% of the homes which we will live in 2050 have already been built. The task of getting to net zero is a challenging one, but a new tool, developed collaboratively, aims to help individual and organisational property owners to better understand and improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
The buildings in which we live must play a critical role in UK decarbonisation, but they are also homes. This means they different meanings and value to different people which can evolve over time. Our Living Well in Low Carbon Homes team is unearthing new insights and evidence to support the transformation of the UK building stock as we progress towards net zero.
Across our research programme, the teams are looking for increasing amounts of monitored building performance data. But what is this monitored data and why do we want it? Let’s take a look at this in a bit more detail, and why it is important in enabling the UK’s transition to net zero.