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Report Recommends a ‘Technology Agnostic’ Approach to Decarbonising Buildings

Report Recommends a ‘Technology Agnostic’ Approach to Decarbonising Buildings
21 February 2023

A report that assesses government plans to decarbonise heat and buildings has been published.

The report, from the Sustainable Energy Association (SEA) and its partners, assesses the current policy landscape for decarbonising heat and buildings and why tailoring government policies to focus more on applying the right technologies for the right outcomes to make buildings fit for the future.

The association argues that to deliver net-zero, government policies covering the built environment need to be more data-driven, evidence-led, outcomes-focused and technology agnostic.


What Does Technology Agnostic Mean?


Being technology agnostic means being unbiased towards any one particular technological solution.

In the context of the decarbonisation of the built environment, this approach would mean not relying on any single system or one-size-fits-all approach, but a mixture of flexible technologies.


Incorporating a Diverse Range of Low-Carbon Technologies


The SEA advocates for a “fabric-first”, holistic approach to decarbonising buildings:


  • Accelerated Route to Net-Zero Buildings: How technology agnosticism will target and channel investments into a variety of low-carbon technologies for decarbonising buildings at an accelerated rate, whilst maximising the benefits of healthy and cost-effective buildings.
  • Flexible and Smart Building Energy Systems: How a technology-agnostic approach puts more emphasis on the installation of smart and flexible technologies to reduce the costs associated with operating buildings and transitioning to net-zero.
  • Effective Consumer Education and Engagement: How an outcomes-based approach to heat decarbonisation is more appropriate to what, where, and how low-carbon technologies are put forward and installed in buildings, marrying up consumer desires with effective solutions.
  • High Quality Skills and Clear Local and National Planning: How a more agnostic approach benefits the transition by deploying tailored solutions using the most relevant skills at a local level; primarily driven by bottom-up, evidence-based, building-level decision making that target outcomes over a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Stimulating Manufacturing, Supply Chains and Innovation: How this approach will help to stimulate the market and grow capacity for transitioning to net-zero. As the investment landscape takes on a more concrete form, with clear pathways for industry to supply demand, manufacturing capabilities, product investment, and supply chain diversity and resilience will grow, benefitting the UK’s low-carbon economy.


Jade Lewis, Chief Executive of the SEA, commented: “The SEA is steadfast in its commitments to deliver living and working space fit for future generations. To help us realise this vision, government policy for heat and buildings needs to be long-term and joined-up, taking a fabric-first, holistic and technology-agnostic approach. This report lays the foundations as to why these policies should take into consideration a wider range of technologies, so that we can provide homes and buildings with the best solutions for net-zero.”

“At ABC, since 2019, we’ve been all about energy systems integration, whether that be in new build, retrofit, social housing to business parks. What is clear is that there is no one size fits all. To achieve better outcomes, we have learnt that it is vital there is an evidence-based approach to policy, regulation, and funding, and this report highlights this need too.”

You can read the full report here.

Picture: a graphic showing a cityscape with symbols including clouds and a magnifying glass. Image Credit: Pixabay

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 21 February 2023


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