Building a zero carbon future

08 May 2008

Technology Strategy Board to support zero carbon building technology.

Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform will have initial funding of £30 million and will work with industry and academics to bring new products and services to the market.

First investment of £4 million to fund highly innovative collaborative research proposals on components and materials.

The Technology Strategy Board today launched a new initiative that will help UK business to meet the growing global demand for environmentally friendly buildings, while responding to the Government's challenging targets for improving sustainability.

With initial funding of £30 million over three years, the Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform will work with industry, academics and research organisations to develop new products and services, and help bring them to the market.

The Technology Strategy Board has consulted extensively with both industry and academia to identify the major challenges to delivering low impact buildings and has identified a number of main targets:

  • Designing for future climate change
  • Design and decision tools
  • Management of building operations
  • New components and materials
  • Low carbon energy.

The Innovation Platform's first activity will focus on the development of materials and components that will reduce energy and water consumption and which can be integrated into existing designs and building practices. It will launch a funding competition within the next few days and will allocate £4 million to provide partial funding for winning projects that involve businesses working collaboratively with other businesses and/or with research organisations and academic institutions.

Explaining the background to the establishment of the new Innovation Platform, the Technology Strategy Board's Chief Executive, Iain Gray, said: "Buildings are responsible for over 45% of the UK's total carbon emissions.  The Government has set targets to reduce net carbon emissions to zero for new houses from 2016, and for new non-domestic buildings by 2019.  The new build market in the UK is currently worth about £50 billion a year and these new targets will drive the change to low impact buildings.  UK businesses that meet these exacting standards will also be well placed to take advantage of the growing global demand for environmentally friendly buildings."

Junior Housing Minister Iain Wright says: "Building the extra houses we need in this country and tackling climate change are two of the biggest challenges the government faces.  The zero carbon agenda is vital to ensuring that the new housing we so badly need is built in a way that helps tackle climate change.

"We have set ourselves and industry a huge challenge with the zero carbon housebuilding standards, but this is a challenge that can be met.  We want and need innovative designs, products and ways of working to meet that challenge.

"This is why I commend the Technology Strategy Board for launching the Low Impacts Buildings Innovation Platform, which I am sure will make a significant contribution to developing and disseminating the learning and knowledge we need on how to design and build zero carbon homes."

Commenting on the initiative, Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council said "the Council and our members - who span the breadth of the construction industry - warmly welcome the Low-Impact Buildings Innovation Platform.  The government's targets for zero carbon buildings have precipitated a fundamental change of mindset and the industry is innovating at an unprecedented rate.  However there remain numerous important gaps in our knowledge and obstacles that need to be removed, and the resources that will now be directed at these areas can make a vital difference to our ability to turn targets into reality."

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Last updated on Monday 09 June 2008 at 12:49

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