Rewarding low carbon choices through energy bills is one potential step to ensuring the UK’s building stock is carbon zero by 2050, according to the Energy Systems Catapult.
On 26 February, the Catapult unveiled six potential steps to be taken, noting that the value chains for energy in buildings are substantial – equating to billions every year – and policies to drive restructuring and innovation on a grand scale are needed in everything from building products through to smart controls and home energy apps.
It recommended rewarding low carbon choices through energy bills as one potential step, explaining that a new revenue neutral carbon credits scheme linked to carbon performance measured at property level, through smart meters, could do this. It would be operated by energy suppliers and reward consumers with lower emissions, with those whose emissions are higher then having to purchase more carbon credits through their energy bills. Other steps it suggested included building markets for new finance products and low carbon solutions, funding a new wave of place-based low carbon programmes to drive early deployment, rolling out Local Area Energy Planning, and making energy networks invest to achieve net zero.
It also suggested phasing in new carbon performance requirements for all buildings. This would involve going beyond the construction industry and asking building owners to improve their carbon performance in a similar way to the MOT test for car owners. It explained it could be phased in with plenty of notice, before carbon requirements become mandatory, meaning people have plenty time to adjust and invest, adding that such long-dated regulation has already proven “very effective” in decarbonising vehicles.