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Informing the Debate

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Zero carbon compendium 2011: who’s doing what in housing worldwide (NF31)

Overview

Produced with Zero Carbon Hub and PRP Architects, this extensive update of the popular Zero Carbon Compendium (NF17) aims to create a better understanding of the issues surrounding the achievement and delivery of zero carbon housing and sets out a basis for international comparison and collaboration.

The 2011 Compendium includes new exemplar projects, updates of national targets and further assessment of programmes, government policy and incentives, plus an additional 5 countries – Brazil, India, Russia, Singapore and South Africa – enhancing even further this unique international comparison of the approaches to low and zero carbon housing.

Summary of content

It has been six years since the Kyoto Protocol (under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) came into force for ratifying countries. As the first commitment period ends in 2012, it is clear that the major Annex I emitters will not meet their commitments. While the EU is expected to achieve its collective target, a number of countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Austria, will need to purchase a significant number of CDM credits to fulfil their commitments.

In a time of increasingly high fuel prices, energy efficiency and the integration of renewable energy will become progressively more important, both in terms of affordability and security. Many countries have become more import reliant, and gradually more affected by the problems associated with fuel poverty. Geopolitical events continue to increase fuel prices, as well as drive volatility, and fuel prices globally are expected to increase by 60% by 2020.

By 2050, global temperatures are anticipated to continue to rise and greenhouse gas emissions are expected to more than double if we carry on with ‘business as usual’. To minimise future climate change, mitigation is a crucial goal, but adaptation will also be essential in numerous sectors, not least in building and housing. Designing for a future climate is important, as this will not only help to avoid fuel poverty, but also minimise risk of homes overheating and alleviate flood risk.

This means that future-proofing houses is essential, to meet both today’s and tomorrow’s needs.