Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Figures from the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show that it accounts for 81% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Since the industrial revolution, emission of CO2 as a result of humans has increased by over a third, developing a worrying trajectory into the global warming of the planet, and the subsequent environmental consequences of this rise in temperature.
UK Building Regulations include a lot of legislation pertaining to energy efficiency, air tightness and reducing heat and energy wastage. Hence, all new build properties need to undergo a variety of acoustic tests in order to comply with UK building laws.
Carbon emissions must be restricted in order to reduce the severity of climate change, but how is this being done? How is the UK reducing its carbon emissions?
The Committee on Climate Change in the UK
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) are a statutory body, independent of the government, established due to the 2008 Climate Change Act. The CCC advise the UK government in ways to reduce their carbon emissions, in addition to suggesting how to prepare for global climate change.
Every year, the CCC assess the country’s carbon footprint and report their findings to Parliament.
Though the Climate Change Act 2008, the government has set a carbon budget for every five years, and hopes to reduce the country’s emissions from 1990 to 2050 by 80%. In addition to this, the act also aims to make a contribution to the reduction of global emissions, hoping to stop global warming from rising over 2°C as much as possible.
Below is the projected percentage of reduction in CO2 emissions from those found in 1990:
- 2008 to 2012 – 25%
- 2013 to 2017 – 31%
- 2018 to 2022 – 37% (by 2020)
- 2023 to 2027 – 51% (by 2025)
- 2028 to 2032 – 57% (by 2030)
The latest results (2013 to 2017) have shown that the UK’s CO2 emissions were at an impressive 43% below those found in 1990, and is currently predicted to outperform the government’s projections for the current period (2018 to 2022). However, although these are promising results, the CCC predicts the UK’s CO2 emissions will not hit their 2023 to 2027 target.
The CCC have stated that in order to meet the UK’s overall target of 80% reduction from the levels seen in 1990, this “will require reducing domestic emissions by at least 3% per year. This will require existing progress to be supplemented by more challenging measures.”
How to Reduce Your Own Carbon Emissions
As well as the UK government trying to reduce carbon emissions, many UK households are also doing their bit to help reduce climate change and its subsequent damage to the planet. Below is a list of the main ways to reduce your carbon footprint:
- Low-carbon vehicles
- Insulate your house, flat or property
- Purchase local products
- Use a renewable energy supplier
Low Carbon Vehicles – Changing your vehicle to one that is fuelled from a more renewable energy source (e.g. electric) can help to drastically reduce your carbon footprint and do something good for the planet!
Insulate your Home – Insulating your house or flat can help to keep it warm, meaning less energy is used up in household heating systems. This not only reduces the cost of your monthly bills, but also can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. There are even schemes and grants to assist you with the costs associated with insulating your home to encourage more people to do so.
Purchase Local Products – A lot of food products have been transported from various different countries, and therefore can have some pretty hefty carbon footprints. Buying more locally sourced products can help to stop funding the transportation of non-local foods, and subsequently reduce carbon emissions overall.
Transport Changes – An alternative to switching your car for an electric model would be to consider frequent use of other, eco-friendlier, modes of transportation. Whether taking a nice walk somewhere instead of a 5-minute drive or deciding to use the bike instead, reducing how much your drive can be both beneficial for your health and the planet.
Use a Renewable Energy Supplier – There are some energy suppliers who offer a 100% renewable electricity tariff. Making such a simple change as your energy supplier can cut your carbon footprint down a considerable amount, and is quick and easy to do (read more about switching utilities suppliers)
There is still much to be done to reduce the UK’s CO2 emissions, with every little change helping to stop the incredibly damaging rise in temperatures. Although 2°C may not seem like much, it could lead to sea levels rising to the point where counties like the Maldives will be entirely submerged.
Many people will be left homeless. Predictions have also stated that a third of life on this planet will become extinct, and plant production will slow drastically before stopping entirely.
Can Acoustic Testing Help The UK Reduce Carbon Emissions?
Acoustic testing, particularly in the case of air tightness testing, helps properties to reduce their air leakage and ensures that air infiltration is kept to a minimum, as per Part L of UK Building Regulations. As you might expect, if more air from inside the property is able to escape to the outside, when a property is heated, the process and effects will be wholly inefficient.
Hence, by undertaking proper air tightness testing and the subsequently recommended and required actions, less air from outside can penetrate the building envelope and more of the air inside the property can stay within. This in turn means that the heating process and amount of energy (and therefore gas and electricity) used, is reduced, helping reduce the carbon emissions directly caused by the property in question. It will also help reduce your gas, electric and heating bills.
Reducing Emissions With SAPs
SAPs (standard assessment procedures) provide a key metric, as the result of calculations, to score properties in terms of their energy efficiency, with better scoring properties more energy efficient (more information here).
If customers contact us at the beginning of their property build, we can coach them through the entire process and construction of their homes or properties to make everything as kind to the environment as possible. We will show you what you can do to build a carbon neutral dwelling, through considerations and practices including:
- Extra insulation
- PV (solar) panels
- Air source/ground source heat pumps
- Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery
- Waste Water Heat Recovery