Low Carbon Building InitiativesThe UK Government, through a website of its Department for Trade and Industry (DTI), has recently launched a scheme called the Low Carbon Building’s Programme. This is an initiative by the Government in order to meet national and International targets to reduce pollution, with the intention to reduce the effects of climate change. This programme seeks to achieve that firstly by offering householders and community group’s grants to source and install products on and within their buildings that either generates power from renewable sources, or to reduce the usage of power effectively within the property. Products tend to be expensive, as they are still in the early stage of public use, so these grants can be advantageous in helping householders in efforts to go ‘green’.

Also, the Carbon Trust, an Independent Company founded by the Government that works with business to reduce emissions has launched the Low-Carbon Building Accelerator (LCBA) initiative. This aims at non-residential buildings and their refurbishment, seeking to accelerate the take-up of initiatives, such as grants, that complete projects in a low-carbon and cost-effective manner. A two-pronged approach, in working with individuals and their property, and working with businesses and their larger-scale productivity, property, and output, in attempting to cut carbon emissions, is sensible.

Low Carbon at Home

What does it mean in practice, to try to make your property a low carbon building?

In essence, this is two-fold – both to reduce our reliance upon energy sources from non-renewable sources, and then to turn that dependence to sourcing energy from renewable sources as well as changing our lifestyle of dependence. As with other descriptions on pages within this website, this is the meaning of the term sustainable development. The Low Carbon Building’s Programme emphasizes that before a householder can apply for a grant from them, several criteria to do with the property must already be met.

These are:

  • The entire loft space of the property must be insulated (ideally with a material such as paper pulp, not asbestos), cavity wall insulation, if the property has cavity walls
  • Basic controls on the home heating system, that includes a timer and a thermostat
  • Low energy light bulbs installed in all appropriate light fittings

In addition, the Programme recommends that each householder completes a home energy check, or better still, a green energy audit, which will create a specifically-tailored package of recommendations for your home. Further measures and other energy efficiency grants may be available, specifically for your area. A local branch of the Energy Saving Trust can give guidance on these. Then, the Programme instructs the householder to gain a quote from an accredited installer as to which product you wish to buy and use at your home. The 7 options on their list include:

  • A biomass (wood pellet) room heater
  • A wood fuelled boiler system
  • A ground source heat pump
  • Small scale hydro
  • Solar photo voltaic system
  • Solar thermal hot water
  • Wind turbine

All of these systems are covered within specific pages on our website.