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26 Nov 2008 05:11:30

'Old thinking' holding back sustainable energy



'Old thinking' holding back sustainable energy
Upgrading existing buildings, decentralising energy supply, assessing buildings' energy use annually and encouraging behavioural changes are among the recommendations for meeting carbon emissions reduction targets made by a new report.

The Powering Our Lives report by the government's Foresight think tank says that "old ways of thinking" are hampering progress towards sustainable energy.

Certain ways of using energy have become dominant simply because of their historical precedence rather than because they are better. These models have become entrenched as infrastructure, regulations and behaviour support them.

The report calls for a change in how energy is used and urges the government to provide incentives and support to develop sustainable energy as well as the necessary regulatory and behavioural change.

It notes that currently, half of UK carbon emissions come from powering existing buildings and says that upgrading these is a priority if the target of cutting emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 is to be met.

Government chief scientific adviser professor John Beddington said: "Homes built in the future will be more carbon neutral, however the vast majority of buildings pre-date our awareness of emissions and climate change - these are where quick-wins can be achieved.

"Bringing older housing stock's energy efficiency up to standard should be a priority - providing the right incentives and support is offered to encourage homeowners, business, housing authorities and local government to change their thinking."

The 80 per cent reduction target was set as an amendment to the Climate Change Bill set to receive Royal Assent tomorrow (November 27th).

http://www.foresight.gov.uk/Sembeoutputs.asp


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