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Welsh Zero Carbon Housing Performance Hub

The findings of a report that explored the potential of establishing a Zero Carbon Housing Performance Hub for Wales have been published.

This report is the conclusion of a three-month scoping study which brought together the Good Homes Alliance (GHA), Woodknowledge Wales and the Building Performance Network (BPN) to prepare a proposal for what the Hub’s core purpose could be, how it could add value to the housing sector in Wales, and how it could further the Welsh Government’s objectives.

The report includes a foreword from Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change for the Welsh Government:

 “This Zero Carbon Housing Performance Hub scoping study shows that there is strong support from the housing sector for a government endorsed body where industry, academia and NGOs can collaborate to share research, debate the issues and help shape future policy. The Hub could therefore become a resource for all similar initiatives to ensure a cohesive and coherent direction.

The Hub will also play its part in enabling a zero-carbon economic recovery that is purposefully aligned with the supply chain in Wales. Importantly for Wales, the Hub will enable the social housing sector to go zero early, bringing the benefits of low energy bills and healthy home environments to those that need them most. In short, the Hub will help facilitate and accelerate zero carbon high performance solutions that can be rolled-out at scale across all the housing sectors in Wales. We were delighted to be able to fund this scoping study and will give consideration to how we can support its implementation.”


Authors: Good Homes Alliance, Woodknowledge Wales and Building Performance Network.

Report prepared for ClwydAlyn with funding from the Welsh Government Collaborative Research and Innovation Support Programme (CRISP).

Study completed in March 2021 and conducted by Nicola O’Connor (Mandarin Research) and Ross Holleron (Building Performance Network) for the Good Homes Alliance in collaboration with Woodknowledge Wales and the Sustainable Development Foundation.

Publication date: August 2021


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The future of SAP calculations

Making SAP fit for a Net Zero future

The team including CIBSE, Elementa, Levitt Bernstein, WSP, UCL, Clarion Housing Group and Etude has published a report on the future of SAP. The work makes recommendations on improving SAP and RdSAP so they are fit for Net Zero. The report was commissioned by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

What is SAP and why does it need improving?

SAP is the calculation methodology used to estimate and regulate the energy and carbon performance of new homes and the existing housing stock across the United Kingdom, from small works to large new developments. It is a central tool for those developing, implementing and tracking policies on energy, fuel poverty and carbon emissions and is being used by the whole building industry. SAP outputs are also used to inform residents. Its importance cannot be overstated.

The team has worked over the last year on a report that summarises the issues that should be addressed in the next version of SAP to make it the best possible methodology by 2023-2024. These include current trends affecting housing, the energy system, technologies and innovations such as performance testing and verification.

The 25 recommendations are split into five areas.

1. Better align SAP/RdSAP and its strategic objectives
2. Improvements to the methodology
3. Improvements to SAP/RdSAP and its ecosystem for Net Zero
4. For a better evaluation of energy use
5. Support to decarbonisation of heat and electricity

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Home Comforts during the Covid-19 Lockdown

The report summarises findings of a national survey of 2,500 households (representing 7,200 people) aimed at understanding how well or how poorly the design of our homes and their immediate neighbourhoods supported us during the period of coronavirus lockdown.

The intention was to understand what can be learned from this period of unprecedented stress on our home environments. The findings offer insights into how we should be designing or adapting them in the future in order that they are more resilient and better able to support happy and healthy lifestyles.

Findings are grouped according to the following themes:

1. About you during lockdown

2. Your home during lockdown

3. Your neighbourhood during lockdown

4. Your community during lockdown


Author: Place Alliance (Matthew Carmona, Valentina Giordano, Garima Nayyar, Jessica Kurland, Clare Buddle)

Publication date: October 2020

Further information: placealliance.org.uk

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Building the Case for Net Zero

This report published by the UKGBC highlights the real-world implications for achieving net zero buildings. The aim of the findings is improve the collective understanding for the buildings sector and to help build a case for new net zero buildings.


Author: UKGBC

Publication date: September 2020

Further information: https://www.ukgbc.org/ukgbc-work/building-the-case-for-net-zero/

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At a crossroads: Building foundations for healthy communities

A new report published by APSE, researched and written by the TCPA, is calling on the Government to put public health at the heart of housing delivery; empowering local decision-makers to create healthy and high-quality places. The report condemns a decade of deregulatory planning reform which has failed to acknowledge the crucial role local authorities play in designing healthy places and driving up the standard of new housing.


Author: APSE, TCPA

Publication date: August 2020

Further information: https://apse.org.uk/apse/index.cfm/news/articles/2020/at-a-crossroads-building-foundations-for-healthy-communities

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Electricity Storage: Pathways to a Net Zero Future

The Electricity Storage Network has released a report outlining the role storage can play in tackling the climate emergency. As the UK looks to a green recovery from the pandemic, the paper calls for a clear signal from government to set a trajectory for storage over the next decade which will help create jobs and economic growth while enabling the electricity system to become zero carbon.

The paper has been built from a broad evidence base, building on our extensive engagement with ESN members and wider industry, government, Ofgem and National Grid ESO. Regen has written two previous major reports on storage in 2016 and 2017 and this paper builds on those findings, aiming to give an overview of storage and its uses, a snapshot of where the industry has got to in 2020, and what needs to change if we’re to face up to the climate emergency over the next decade.

The paper outlines six key recommendations for government and industry to ensure we build a sustainable industry that allows storage to deploy at the scale needed to support the UK’s transition to net zero.

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Author: Regen

Publication date: June 2020

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Re-thinking local

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the communities in which we live and work. The next six months have the potential to shape the direction of this country for years to come.

The challenges ahead are as great as those we faced during the pandemic. We need to rebuild our economy, get people back to work and create new hope in our communities. As we begin to look forward and rebuild, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not just recover but to go even further – to address the stark inequalities the pandemic has exposed and that have been entrenched for too long; to connect with people’s identities and sense of community; to harness the energy and dynamism which have been the hallmarks of our response to this crisis; to rebuild the economy so that it benefits everyone.

This document sets out a series of offers to Government, alongside a set of asks and is the start of a process. A process to re-think our approach to these problems and a process that leads central government to re-think its view of us. We collectively need to re-think local and we hope this is the first step.

Now is the time for national government to grasp these opportunities and to lay the foundations for a future that is local.

Author: Local Government Association

Publication date: June 2020

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State of the Nation: Domestic Buildings

There have been a number of studies undertaken over the last 10 years to understand the performance of homes, addressing issues such as energy consumption and outcomes for occupants and building owners. However, many of these studies are not widely publicised and limited to a small audience: their full potential is not being realised.

Now, we are transitioning into a new future of understanding building performance: the technology is becoming cheaper and data more available. As we enter a world of smart meters and smart homes, individuals and organisations will be better able to better understand how homes perform.

To harness the currently available knowledge and the opportunities around the corner, this work for the Building Performance Network addresses the following issues and includes:

  • A review of existing studies of domestic building performance.  Within scope are any studies considering energy consumption, thermal performance, environmental performance (including temperature, relative humidity and occupant feedback), and outcomes for occupants and housing providers;
  • A review of current building performance evaluation and assessment methods, including how these relate to energy consumption, comfort, health and well-being;
  • An assessment of how different building performance evaluation methods score against time, cost, and user expertise;
  • What smart meters and smart homes mean for the measurement of building performance;
  • The future of BPE, with recommendations for researchers, manufacturers, clients and where possible for the construction supply chain.

Project map

This map was created by researchers at Oxford Brookes University, School of Architecture.


Author: Building Performance Network

Publication date: June 2020

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So you’ve declared a climate emergency: what next?

A new report published by APSE sets out the steps that UK councils need to consider in translating climate emergency declarations into positive actions to address climate change. The report identifies both the barriers and opportunities for local councils to deliver on commitments to work towards net zero carbon emissions.

The report, written and researched with the New Policy Institute (NPI) suggests that actions taken now by councils, to reduce emissions will provide long term benefits with early cuts across a broad range of activities being the immediate aim.

Drawing upon the near-term targets, published by the Committee on Climate Change, the report highlights many achievable actions by local authorities in reducing emissions in assets and building, energy, transport, leisure and waste and recycling services.


Author: APSE

Publication date: May 2020

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Buildings Mission 2030: GCB Recommendations

The Green Construction Board (GCB), the sustainability workstream of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), issued its response to the ‘2030 Buildings Mission’ on Tuesday 2nd July 2019 at an event at IET Savoy Place in London. The GCB Buildings Mission Taskgroup is being led by GHA Chair Lynne Sullivan OBE with the report sponsored by GHA Leader member BRE and the new Active Building Centre in Swansea.

The report places the recommendations for 2030 in the context of the longer-term objective of Net Zero Carbon buildings and asserts that new technologies and modern construction methods already enable the 2030 energy target to be achieved. However, the GCB response emphasises the need for mass production of high-performance fabric and systems to operationalise the solutions at scale.

Using case studies to provide background evidence for recommendations on reducing energy demand and improving energy and system efficiencies, the report unequivocally supports the view that the Mission is deliverable. Find out more at www.constructionleadershipcouncil.co.uk.

“The report provides background evidence for our Recommendations, which are positioned in the context of the longer-term objective of Net Zero Carbon buildings. We have focused, as a nearer term objective, on reducing energy demand by improving energy and system efficiencies. Along with process efficiencies including better quality management and procurement practices, we demonstrate how the Challenge can be tackled pragmatically, building on current best practice.

“Our Recommendations unequivocally support the Mission objective and this report demonstrates that it is realisable. We call for urgent and consistent action on three fronts – regulation, incentives and supporting research – and our case studies demonstrate that the objective to halve all building energy through demand reduction can deliver multiple benefits for supply chain replicability and growth opportunities, whilst reducing reliance on decarbonised energy supply.”

Lynne Sullivan OBE, Chair of the Good Homes Alliance and GCB Buildings Mission Taskgroup

Author: Green Construction Board

Publication date: April 2019

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