To decarbonise the UK’s buildings, the government should empower local actors and solutions, the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) has said.
On 5 August, the ADE published a paper, Zoning for Heat and Energy Efficiency, in partnership with UK Power Networks (UKPN), in which it called on government to provide a clear, strategic policy framework for heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency. Policy, at present, is fragmented and mostly targeted at new buildings whereas the majority in need of decarbonisation have already been built. It proposed a zoning approach as the best way to address the “retrogap”.
The paper was launched alongside UKPN’s complementary Heat Street Project, which will now begin to explore opportunities for industry and local authority collaboration presented by zoning. Zoning involves considering local opportunities and constraints, before identifying the most appropriate heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency package for an area. It can then enable local buy-in, targeted local authorities and greater levels of consumer engagement.
The ADE stressed that for net zero to be reached, a policy landscape which enables a cost competitive market for low carbon heat and energy efficiency must be created, one that signals to investors that these markets are open for business. Zoning frameworks would enhance the potential of such markets by considering which low carbon solutions are suited to different local contexts and encouraging the implementation of supportive policies to enable their uptake. It would allow for those with a financial stake in the area to invest in skills, jobs, infrastructure or in-home improvements, subsequently helping to create green collar jobs that are needed as part of the wider recovery from COVID-19.