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Comment: Green ambitions for homes and public buildings

Published: 10 July 2020 - Rachael Morling

Darren Walsh, energy partner at global legal business DWF, comments on the green energy ambitions for homes and public buildings announced by the Chancellor. He said:

“The Chancellor's focus on green jobs and a green economic recovery is welcome. The green home initiative seems to be a good place to start and the hope is that local businesses see a real benefit from the uptake of energy efficient home improvements.

“Domestic initiatives for improvements in energy efficiency will certainly play a part in seeking to reduce carbon emissions and utilising less efficient heating and heat conservation systems in many peoples' homes. We just hope that this initiative does not follow the same path as previous green initiatives such as the domestic feed in tariff, where that industry saw a boom and bust fate when the Government decided that the scheme was no longer affordable. Many local businesses that had set up to meet the domestic demand; soon faced challenges when the tariff was cancelled.

“The scheme to increase energy efficiency in public buildings is also welcomed. Previous initiatives have not delivered the desired results because many public authorities have faced challenges in seeking to apply retrofits to existing public buildings, which are often inefficient and difficult to modernise. Schemes around rooftop solar PV on all public buildings or use of district heating networks may assist to heat and power these buildings, which would have the added benefit of accelerating the decarbonisation of powering and heating many public buildings. With virtually all local authorities in the UK declaring a climate emergency, all will be developing their climate emergency action plans; so this added source of Government funding will be well-received in times when local authorities will be facing funding challenges following the COVID-19 relief measures they have been required to implement.”

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