Greater Manchester has recently announced its plan to make all new buildings “net zero” by 2028. This means that any new building constructed in the region from now on will generate its own clean energy on site or purchase it from local renewable sources, and will be designed to use as little energy as possible.
The move is part of the city’s efforts to tackle climate change and reduce carbon emissions. To achieve this goal, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority is working with local authorities, developers, architects, and planners to create a net-zero building framework, outlining the minimum standards required for all new buildings in the area.
The framework will also provide guidance on how to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings. The initiative is expected to create new job opportunities in the renewable energy sector, and help Manchester become a leader in sustainable construction. It also supports the UK government’s commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Overall, the move towards net-zero buildings is seen as a crucial step in addressing the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat the effects of climate change.
So how could this be delivered?
Going beyond the current Part L regulations is the best way to achieve sustainable building regulation. Utilizing assessment methods such as SAP and SBEM, this approach sets a baseline for emissions which can then be reduced with additional measures or offset payments.
London has already introduced a policy requiring all new domestic buildings to exceed Part L by 35%. This means that builders must ensure their properties reach zero carbon through extra features or contributions.
Non-domestic developments across Greater Manchester have similar targets in place – GMCA plans suggest an initial target of 19% ahead of 2028, with further industry input possible as the document evolves. The GMCA is also working closely with Green Building Council professionals to help make sure these goals are met efficiently and effectively.
At the design stage, it’s essential for developers to consider energy-efficient features such as ground-source heat pumps. Doing so can help lower the carbon footprint of Greater Manchester and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which have decreased by around 20% since 2005.
Ensuring that residents are able to affordably heat their homes requires careful consideration of efficiency versus costs. Electric heating is more efficient than gas but comes at a higher price per kilowatt-hour; however, air- and ground-source heat pumps offer greater savings in terms of running costs although they may cost more initially.
We advocate ‘fabric first’ building strategies that limit the amount of energy needed for heating while preventing any from escaping through walls, floors or roofs. To achieve this, we suggest high-performance insulation alongside an airtight build with thermal bridging solutions in place.
Maximising energy efficiency is key when it comes to providing heating, cooling and hot water – switching to low carbon fuel types and fitting heat recovery technologies can make a big impact too! Plus, renewable technologies such as solar photovoltaic panels can significantly offset electricity taken from the National Grid due to recent SAP 10 changes.
Promoting the retrofitting of existing buildings with measures to improve energy efficiency and generate renewable and low carbon energy is a crucial aspect of transitioning towards a more sustainable and climate-friendly future. Retrofitting existing buildings involves upgrading them with advanced technologies and equipment such as insulation, energy-efficient lighting systems, and solar panels.
These measures can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, while also improving the overall comfort and liveability of buildings. Retrofitting also helps to create local jobs and stimulates economic growth in the construction and energy sectors.
Despite the benefits of retrofitting, Manchester has not provided much specific detail on how they plan to promote and incentivise this approach.
However, there are several strategies that could be implemented to encourage building owners and managers to embrace retrofitting. These include providing financial incentives such as tax breaks or rebates, offering technical assistance and support to guide building owners through the retrofitting process, and raising awareness about the benefits of retrofitting through education and outreach campaigns.
In summary, Manchester is taking the lead in fighting climate change with their ‘Net Zero’ plan. By 2028, all new buildings must meet net zero standards for energy use and carbon emissions. This is a great step forward towards creating a more sustainable city for everyone.
If you would like to learn more about how this plan can help your business, don’t hesitate to contact us for a quote!