Zero Carbon Compendium

Introduction


Left: Nick Raynsford, Chair, NHBC Foundation
Right: Paul King, Chair, Zero Carbon Hub

Climate change is the biggest threat we face globally, but all too often it is discussed in the abstract, and can appear disconnected from our daily lives. And yet there are very real and immediate links.  Across the globe, as in the UK, our homes account for between 20% and 25% of all man-made CO2 emissions. So how homes are designed, built and used, can make an enormous difference.  For many governments, cutting emissions from housing is regarded as central to their ability to meet national and international emissions reduction targets. As a result, a wide range of approaches and policies directed at housing have developed or are emerging in different countries with the common aim of facilitating low carbon living. Some of these are already providing powerful examples which are informing international thinking.

Originally published in 2009, and now updated to include five additional countries, this Compendium provides a broad  synthesis of international activity in this field. It gives a unique snapshot of how 20 different countries are demonstrating leadership in low carbon technology, culture change, policy development and change management. For each country, headline energy consumption and climatic data have been assembled to provide context. This is accompanied by an analysis of progress against national aspirations and policy targets for emissions reductions. As in the 2009 Compendium, the information has been organised to facilitate easy comparisons between countries, providing clarity for those wishing to learn from international experience and those seeking to build international links and collaboration.

For the UK, where meeting the 2016 zero carbon target requires rapid and challenging performance improvements, there is an obvious need to learn key lessons from overseas. While every country has unique domestic circumstances, the 2011 Compendium, with its expanded scope and additional insight gained over time, helps us all to save time by learning from others, whether on policy, process, technology or construction practice.

While the global market can bring powerful international perspectives to our decision making, we rarely have the time to step back and take in the significant progress that is being made across the world. The Compendium both helps provide that perspective and enables us to appreciate the significant contribution being made by our own housing sector and policy makers to international progress on low carbon housing.

We hope that the 2011 Compendium, like its predecessor, will make a valuable contribution by building international awareness of the global importance of low and zero carbon housing in tackling climate change.

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