Energy and Built Environment

The purpose of the ACT Energy & Built Environment group is to propose realistic policies and initiatives necessary to meet our mission.  That is to take meaningful actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our activities. Actions that are in line with keeping atmospheric temperature increase below 1.5OC compared to pre-industrial levels.

The working group meets regularly every four weeks (by Zoom or in person).  We have combined these meetings with those of the Transport group. Please contact the group coordinator if you would like to join us.  Everyone is welcome to ask questions, discuss topics, 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.

Energy and Built Environment covers:

  • Housing and buildings
  • New development and existing stock
  • Infrastructure, including all those associated with transport
  • Energy services and utilities, including energy generation

Our broad policies and initiatives in response to TDC declaring a climate emergency can be found 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 and extends to households and public/private organisations, or can cover a particular geography/sector within Teignbridge.

There are several activities the working group undertakes, including providing data/analysis and support to anyone that asks. Below are our current areas of focus and source of information/support.

We use the terms Carbon and Green House Gas (GHG) emissions interchangeably to refer to all gases that contribute to atmospheric warming.  These are usually measured in terms of weight of CO2 equivalent, e.g. kg CO2e or t CO2e.

Energy & Carbon

Nearly 75% of GHG emissions come from burning fossil fuels for energy!

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.

A more coherent approach to decarbonising everything would be to follow one of the widely accepted Energy Hierarchies. 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 require has low enough GHG emission that the natural environment is able to absorb (sequester). 

With current projections, we will have emitted enough GHG within eigt years to exceed the Paris Accord’s limits.  To stay close to the 1.5OC temperature rise limit, we will need to get to net zero GHG emissions by 2030.  See our 2019 report to the council and the 2022 explanation of what is causing the climate transformation, what it’s consequences are likely to be and what needs to happen to mitigate this.

There are a lot of conflicting reports on the next new technology that 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 how we use energy in general. For example, both electric vehicles and heat pumps may be sold as ‘green’ or ‘low carbon’, but the energy needed 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 many big technical/logistical hurdles to overcome.  Simply moving all our current transport and heating energy demand to renewable electricity is impossible for the electricity grid to deliver, certainly in the time available.  See the TECs report on options for Net Zero for Teignbridge.

So why are ACT and many others still working hard 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 decarbonise quickly and effectively, please join us.  Here are a few links we’ve been working on which you may want to look into and contribute to:

  • To start to reduce energy consumption, see the TECs Carbon Footprint Tracker
  • You can get a general introduction to the Energy/Carbon topic, what causes it and how to mitigate it effectively, take look at our Carbon Cutter scheme and training opportunities.
  • The technologies that increase the efficiency of the energy we consume are discussed in Electric Vehicles, Heat Pumps, with others to follow such as Smart Homes.
  • Technologies that can reduce the amount of grid electricity we consume such as solar PV, and Home Batteries.
  • The technologies needed to support low Carbon energy sources are discussed in a separate paper Net Zero Technologies.
  • We’ve started to collect Case Studies from group members. If you have any comments or would like to send you’s story in, please contact the Energy group coordinator.

We understand that we are all different with varying levels of knowledge, effort and time. Our circumstance also vary, so actions we take to mitigate climate change will inevitably be personal. This is why we do not prescribe actions, instead we provide aproaches and information to help you decide what actions are appropriate to you. We are here to help you answer the questions you ask, such as but not limited to:


We believe that whole housing retrofit will be a critical area to address.  While there have been several government schemes, including the most recent £5,000-£10,000 green homes grant initiative, the local market and supply chain are not sufficiently developed to deliver quality retrofits.

We have been working with Devon County Council and Community Energy groups to stimulate this market for the benefit Teignbridge residents. Here are some options:

Draft Local Plan open to comment Teignbridge District Council’s draft Local Plan is open for comment until noon on Monday March 13th. The plan details ‘how’ and ‘where’ proposed new housing and employment related development will take place in the district until 2040. It includes site allocations for housing, employment and wind turbines. The sites included… Read More…
Support conversion not demolition of Bradley Lane Friday 8th October saw the public release of the planning application for Bradley Lane in Newton Abbot (22/01500/MAJ), writes ACT Wildlife Warden Eloise Rokirilov.  Long pending, starting at 171 documents and growing, the expiry date for comments remains at 4th November. The application calls for wholesale demolition of all the… Read More…
Power Allotments Devon On Tuesday 13th September I attended a webinar to introduce Power Allotments Devon along with colleagues from TECs. This Devon wide project hopes to encourage local communities to build, own and benefit from their own renewable energy power station projects across Devon, creating spaces for biodiversity net gain and generating… Read More…
Why are electricity prices rising? We examine the reasons behind the dramatic rises in electricity prices following the unprecedented rises in fossil fuel prices, and why reductions in renewable prices have had no effect. Read More…
Council’s carbon reduction targets won’t do the job Following its Climate Emergency declaration three years ago, Teignbridge District Council has published and adopted Part 1 of its Climate Action Plan. Part 2 is expected later this year. Action on Climate in Teignbridge (ACT) welcomes the long-awaited plan, believing it is an essential first step in delivering on the… Read More…
We need more renewable energy and a new pricing system The jolting rise in the price of energy should help focus minds on the urgent need to speed up the transition to renewable energy sources. We need to make that switch to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it would be good if it also helped reduce and stabilise energy prices. … Read More…
ACT’s response to Part 3 of the Local Plan consultation Teignbridge District Council’s current Local Plan, which runs from 2013-2033, is being revised and extended to cover the period 2020-2040.  Part 1,  which specifies the policies associated with new developments including renewable energy, was consulted on in 2020. The result of the consultation and any changes coming out of it are… Read More…
Responding to part 3 of the local plan consultation- sites for renewable energy ACT plans to respond to the wind and solar energy section of TDC’s third part of its consultation on the local plan. We encourage you to do the same. To find out more about these proposals, how to respond and how to share your views Read More…
Government releases its Hydrogen Strategy Number 2 of the Government’s 10 Point Plan: “Working with industry aiming to generate 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for industry, transport, power and homes, and aiming to develop the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade” On 17 August 2021… Read More…
Last Chance to Influence Where New Housing is Built You have until noon on Monday August 9th to give Teignbridge District Council (TDC) your views on the 100 plus sites around Teignbridge proposed for new development. If you don’t respond to this consultation you won’t get another opportunity. It is difficult, if not impossible, for plans to be changed… Read More…