Legislative shifts towards sustainable housing – how recycling can help





The UK’s intensification of Kyoto agreement targets which seek to reduce overall carbon emissions (CO2eq) by 80% in 2050 have set sights on legislation aimed at housing and property to aid this goal.

As of 2009, buildings in the UK encompassed 43% of total carbon emissions and will continue to compound as investment in construction begins to rise again. This is a substantial area of emissions that needs addressing, and numerous lines of statute are helping pave the way in bringing the UK’s housing to zero-energy users.


The new recast of the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) is the umbrella legislation for the EU. The UK has identified that in order to hit the reduction target, all buildings must be zero-carbon by 2020. The UK Energy Act 2011 has targeted the energy intensification reduction of existing buildings by imposing mandatory requirements on a properties EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) that will make it illegal to let a property for ratings of F or G. The energy rating of E as a minimum is being consulted but is the most likely outcome.


Buildings of all calibre are damaging the environment through poor waste management and/or inefficient use of resources. The EPBD has outlined the steps that can be taken for a property to become more energy efficient, both private and commercial yet in the UK it is the Building Regulations Parts L1B and L2B that have the say. Part of the problem with the EPBD is that not wanting to bankrupt property owners (which is completely understandable), the changes listed below are only required upon needed renovations and only when “requirements are technically, functionally and economically feasible”.


If funding is the problem, then the solution may or may not have been created by the UK’s coalition government in the form of the Green Deal as part of The Energy Act 2011.
The ‘Deal’ is almost a principle that tries to embody the basic economic principle of long-term monetary savings when low-cost energy is used involving an initial high fixed-cost. The Green Deal has been criticised by environmental professionals whereby incentives will be fixed to the energy costs of the property because of the cost-saving measures that have been implemented.

Some criticism has been brought into the public domain however with shadow minister for energy and climate change Luciana Berger stating “"The Green Deal was billed as the biggest home improvements programme since World War 2, but these figures show it is failing”. The figures being talked about relate to the lacklustre grand total of 4 people signing up to the deal as of 27th June this year.


No matter how this funding will be constructed to support the legislation in the near future, the Energy Act and Energy Performance of Building Directive as well as future building regulation mandate’s will influence all property holders, both commercial and private. The Energy Act 2011 states that by April 2016, landlords will have to start making sustainable provisions so that the value is not lost from their assets. Landlords will benefit from increased long-term savings from their investment as well as remaining compliant. Rough figures indicate that this will affect nearly a fifth of commercial properties and 13.5% of privately rented properties.


Examples of Energy efficient improvements for (existing) property:
• Installation of cavity wall and loft insulation to reach thermal efficiency standards.
o The number of homes with cavity wall insulation has increased by 33% in the last five years to April 2013. 13.4 out of 19.1 million homes have now seen this improvement.

• Installation of smart meters to optimise energy efficiency and track usage.
o The EPBD has highlighted the need to encourage this.

• Use of energy efficient appliances including boilers
• Installation of double glazing to aid insulation

Where landlords are able to make one or more of these arrangements they will also be bound to compliantly recycle the waste that is produced. For instance, old appliances such as fridges and freezers need to be appropriately disposed of under the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive including the ability to offset any hazardous materials. Older insulation may also contain dangerous substances that are harmful to humans and the environment.

Property owners need to start preparing for these issues now by reviewing the recommendation reports in the latest EPC release to ensure property assets will be legally let-able in the near future. Facilities management firms, green construction, energy efficient appliance retailer and a whole host of related markets should take note of this potential opportunity to being UK properties up to standard whilst maintaining full level compliance across operations using waste management experts.

Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Collect & Recycle, on Monday 14 October, 2013. For more information subscribe and follow https://pressat.co.uk/


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Legislative shifts towards sustainable housing – how recycling can help