Houses, if they are to remain fit for purpose transitioning to a post-hydrocarbon era, will need to operate free of fossil fuels. It may also be necessary for these homes to have an off-grid capability given recent National Grid concerns over future grid capacity. If predictions of a warming climate and population increase prove accurate, then another building imperative could be to include better conservation and harvesting of our most precious finite resource, water. But the biggest challenge, will almost certainly be heating these fossil-fuel-free homes.
“Almost 80 per cent of homes with an EPC use mains gas to power central heating………. there remains a major job to be undertaken to realise such ambitions in the 26 million homes currently inefficiently heated in other ways and by other sources.”
– Andrew Warren,Chairman, British Energy Efficiency Federation
Another luminary, Lord Deben, Chairman of The Committee on Climate Change, has advised the UK government that no new homes should be connected to the gas grid after 2025. Presently, 40 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption is for heating buildings, with 85 per cent using fossil-fuel based natural gas.
What’s needed in getting homes ready to operate in a post-hydrocarbon era is addressed by a proposed development of eight fossil-fuel-free dwellings in the Essex village of Copford. A project that espouses the tenets identified in this article’s opening paragraph. ‘Grenestrete’, as it is known, seeks to realise Andrew Warren’s ambitions, it also follows Lord Deben’s advice, while aspiring to operate beyond the UK Governments ‘Zero Carbon’ ambitions for 2050.
Third-party verification of ‘Grenestrete’s’ predicted energy efficiency and carbon emissions, was undertaken by Elmhurst Energy,producing a Design SAP Rating of 119A. Of the 15million registered EPC’s in the UK, Grenestrete’s’ SAP rating would be one of the fifty highest lodged. Once built, these homes would be ranked in the top 0.001% of the country’s most energy efficient dwellings.
Three years of post-occupancy evaluation will seek to demonstrate how this project bridges the performance gap. ‘Grenestrete’ seeks to eradicate emissions entirely from buildings.