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New £350K project to help decarbonise homes in Nottingham

New £350K project to help decarbonise homes in Nottingham

The University of Nottingham is to deliver a new project that will inform the retrofit of the city's existing housing stock to help reach its net zero emissions targets by 2028; and the UK’s by 2050.

One of four Nottingham initiatives to secure a share of the £220m Government’s UK Community Renewal Fund (UK CRF), the University - and project partners Nottingham Energy Partnership, Focus Consultants and the Active Building Centre Research Programme - will use the award to develop a retrofit roadmap for carbon neutral housing.

The funding confirmation comes as world leaders discuss the impact of the built environment at United Nation's annual Conference of the Parties. COP26 is the first United Nation’s climate conference to have cities and the built environment as a theme, recognising its role as a contributor of circa 40% of global carbon emissions.

Lucelia Rodrigues, project lead and Professor of Sustainable and Resilient Cities at the University, said,

“Our retrofit roadmap will provide a breakdown of how to feasibly tackle housing emissions. It will provide a clear and credible strategy to accelerate the City’s 2028 net-zero carbon ambition and develop a policy framework to deliver change at the pace and scale needed to ensure existing homes are efficient, warm, and cheaper to heat while phasing out fossil fuel heating.”

To advance the retrofit strategy and policy guidance, researchers will appraise the most common property types and retrofit methods to deliver energy and carbon assessments, cost and feasibility studies, compliance reviews, cost-effectiveness analysis and workforce carbon skills support.

Nottingham council housing stock accounts for nearly 153,500 dwellings, of which 61.4% have an EPC band D or lower, which poses a significant emissions challenge for the City and its residents.  The promotion of energy efficiency through building fabric improvements and clean technologies integration will help deliver higher levels of thermal comfort, ultimately resulting in better occupiers’ health, wellbeing and productivity. At local levels, this could benefit over 72,000 households by 2028, or over 173,000 habitants.

In April this year, the UK government announced its commitment to achieving emissions reduction of 78% by 2035. These targets are milestones on the way to reaching net zero by 2050 and will require considerable effort across all sectors of the economy alongside a shift in the lifestyle of individual citizens.

“The project will help the City Council and stakeholders to introduce a programme of retrofit works in a sequential fashion, focusing on fabric improvements first before integrating solar photovoltaics and air-source heat pumps. Educating and engaging the public will also make the implementation of retrofit strategies more desirable and feasible within the timeframe set to achieve carbon neutrality,” adds Professor Rodrigues.

Identifying and assessing the most cost-effective housing retrofit strategies will support the delivery of an evidence-based transformation of the UK’s built environment. A unified digital approach to retrofit evaluation will help to gather large-scale evidenced insights to support policy, industry and academia en route to decarbonisation.

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