17 November 2022
Commenting on Chancellor’s Autumn Budget Statement today, Darren Price, Director, ADAM Architecture, said:
“Disregarding all the headline numbers and announcements there is one measure in today’s Autumn Statement that grabbed my attention - the Government’s commitment to reduce energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030 against 2021 levels with new Government funding to help achieve these targets, and the setting up of a new energy efficiency task force. We fully support this but also ask whether this is ambitious enough.
“Given that almost 40% of global carbon emissions are acknowledged as coming from the building and construction sector, and whilst energy
savings of whatever scale are good from the perspective of meeting the climate change challenge, we must also ask how this new target fits with our sectoral ambition to cut net zero emissions to zero by 2050. Energy efficiency for the individual household or business is good in terms of cost saving and climate change, but there is a much greater challenge in terms of response to the climate emergency that requires our committed and far greater response.”
Energy saving must be taken into account from design and construction onwards.
(photo: Nansledan, Newquay, Cornwall. 23 JUNE 2022. Aerial views of building progress, photographed for The Duchy of Cornwall Nansledan consortium by Hugh Hastings.)
Comment included in the Architects' Journal article:
Hunt commits £6bn to insulation – but RIBA calls for ‘accelerated’ retrofit program
18 November 2022 by Gino Spocchia
The government has pledged to spend £6 billion on home insulation – but RIBA president Simon Allford said the investment must be ‘accelerated’ to combat the UK’s poor energy efficiency
During an Autumn Statement delivered on Thursday (17 November), chancellor Jeremy Hunt said £6 billion of spending to improve home insulation would start in 2025 and that the money will be on top of £6.6 billion already committed to energy efficiency savings in the current parliament, according to The Guardian.
Hunt added that an insulation taskforce will be created to spearhead the initiative – and to look at incentivising homeowners to switch fossil fuel boilers with heat pumps or biomass boilers. The government aims to cut energy consumption in the built environment by 15 per cent by 2030, which Hunt said would ‘stop ourselves being at the mercy of international gas prices’.
Responding to the announcement, Allford welcomed the plans but added that ‘time is of the essence’ and plans to improve energy efficiency should be put on an ‘accelerated’ timetable.
‘We very much welcome the chancellor’s clear statement that we must improve the energy efficiency of our buildings,’ Allford said. ‘The extra funding is welcome. But, to meet the scale of the challenge, and for people and our economy to benefit from the relief, it needs to be accelerated.’
Allford said the new taskforce had to ‘learn from past failures and build a competent, skilled supply chain’ to ensure the government’s latest commitment to insulating homes is achieved. The latest policy follows Boris Johnson’s decision to scrap a £2 billion green homes grant last year following problems with the scheme.
‘As an institute and profession, we will continue to engage with, and wherever possible support the government, as it drives forward the vital programmes of work to retrofit our building stock,’ the RIBA president said.
Darren Price, director at ADAM Architecture, questioned whether Hunt’s ambitions were ambitious enough, considering the government's legal commitment to making the UK net zero by 2050. He also pointed out that buildings and construction contribute 40 per cent of all emissions globally.
He said: ‘We fully support this but also ask whether this is ambitious enough. Energy efficiency for the individual household or business is good in terms of cost saving and climate change, but there is a much greater challenge in terms of response to the climate emergency that requires our committed and far greater response.’
Félicie Krikler, director at Assael Architecture, echoed Allford’s comments. She said: ‘A decade of low levels of insulation installation rates means that energy efficient retrofit of homes needs a boost and today’s promise of funding is a sizeable step in the right direction.
‘However, how can we really afford to delay this until 2025 to address our housing stock’s poor energy efficiency?’
Currently, the UK has some of the worst homes in Europe for energy performance. Just 1.8 per cent of new homes in England meet the top efficiency rating, Greenpeace found in a report earlier this year.
Just 10 per cent of interwar housing stock – homes built between 1919 and 1939 – have an energy performance rating above band C, a report published by the RIBA in September said. The institute estimates that improving energy performance in these homes alone would reduce the nation’s carbon emissions by 4 per cent as well as helping the government meet its net zero target by 2050.