The purpose of the ACT Built Environment and Energy group is to propose realistic policies and initiatives necessary to meet Teignbridge District Council’s declared net-zero carbon objective.
The working group meets regularly every 4 weeks (currently by Zoom). Please contact the group coordinator if you would like to join us. Everyone is welcome to discuss, plan or implement the actions needed to achieve our purpose.
We need to cooperate with others, nationally, regionally and locally. Our focus, however, will be on working locally within Teignbridge. Not only do we need to learn/share best practice, but we also need to bring our community with us if we are to be successful in delivering a sea-change in attitudes and behaviour.
Built Environment and Energy covers
- Housing and buildings
- New development and existing stock
- Infrastructure, including all those associated with transport
- Services and utilities, including primary energy generation
Our broad policies and initiatives in response to TDC declaring a climate emergency are here.
We have developed a number of tools and gathered data to help everyone understand and tackle their Carbon emissions. This starts with us as individuals (e.g. Carbon footprint tracker) and extends to households, public/private organisations or can cover a particular geography/sector within Teignbridge. For example the maps and data page.
There are several activities the working group undertakes including responding to government consultation, providing data/analysis and support to anyone that asks. Below are our current areas of focus.
We believe that Whole Housing Retrofit will be a critical area to address. While there have been several government schemes, including the most recent £5-10k retrofit voucher initiative, the local market and supply chain are not sufficiently developed to deliver quality retrofits.
We want to stimulate this market to benefit Teignbridge residents. See our current thoughts on this below (Previous Initiatives- Retrofit)
Low-Carbon Energy supply is not simply a question of having more Renewables. The government’s stated Net-Zero Carbon ambitions and other related policies are of course welcome. We do not, however, think these are coherent or well thought through at this stage. In particular, we do not think there is an Energy or Carbon strategy to get us to Net-Zero, even by as late as 2050.
Several Energy Hierarchies have been defined which show the steps we need to take in this journey to decarbonise everything. These hierarchies can differ slightly in their steps, but all start with reducing energy consumption as the most important or the largest impact. Technological solutions on their own, whether in improved efficiencies or more renewables, will neither reduce GHG emissions enough nor can they do it quickly enough.
Nevertheless, we will need the technological solutions to complete the task. Even if we were to make significant inroads into reducing our energy consumption, it would be impossible to reduce this to zero. Therefore, we need technological solutions to make sure the remaining energy we need has lower GHG emission than the natural environment can sequester. Unfortunately, within this decade (about 9 years left) we will have already emitted too much GHG, so we’ll need to sequester a lot more or reduce even further. To stay well below the 2OC temperature rise limit, we will need to get to almost Zero GHG emissions within the time remaining. That is well before the current 2050 target!
We hear a lot of conflicting reports on the next new technology which will ‘solve the problem’. We do not think there is a ‘silver bullet’. We also think there is much confusion between generating low-Carbon energy and using it efficiently. For example, both Electric Vehicles and Heat Pumps may be sold as ‘green’ or ‘low-carbon’, but the energy to power them has to come from somewhere. Some would say, we’ll just have more Renewables. It’s of course not that simple. There are very many big technical/logistical hurdles to overcome. Simply moving all our transport and heating energy demand to Renewable electricity is impossible to deliver, certainly in the time available.
So why is ACT still going if things are difficult or even impossible? Well, we think there are solutions, but they need everyone to take part and ‘do their bit’. If you are interested in this and the discussion around the subject of how to reach Net-Zero in the next 9 years, please join us. Here are a few links we’ve been working on which you may want to look into and contribute to:
- The three key technologies needed to support a revolution in renewables: Storage; Hydrogen; Nuclear
- The technologies that increase the efficiency of the energy we consume: EVs; others to follow
- Where to start to reduce energy consumption: Carbon Footprint Tracker