Andy Regan, Nesta’s Mission Manager for a Sustainable Future and co-chair for the Challenge said “There has never been so much focus on the role our homes and other buildings play in the journey to net zero. They represent around fifth of our total emissions in Wales, and the current gas price crisis means energy bills are an increasing proportion of household incomes. The solutions to both these problems lie in the efficient electrification of heat, but achieving this in all homes and buildings will be far from simple. The Net Zero 2035 group has been tasked not just with finding faster decarbonisation pathways, but finding those ones the maximise the additional benefits of the transition. We’re keen to understand the evidence from initiatives which deliver decarbonisation and other benefits.”
Judith Thornton, Low Carbon Manager for IBERS, Aberystwyth University and co-chair for the Challenge said “We spend the majority of our time in buildings, and so it is critical that our indoor environment is good for our health and enriches our well-being. Sadly this is not necessarily the case at the moment, and as we decarbonise homes and workplaces in Wales we must take the opportunity to improve living standards and leave nobody behind. The scale of the building decarbonisation challenge also creates opportunities to upskill our workforce to meet the demand. These issues are not unique to Wales, and we are keen to learn from others how they have delivered the pace of change required, whilst maintaining quality.”
Our draft vision
Through initial dialogue, we have produced a draft vision to illustrate our direction of travel and inspire thoughts on how could Wales heat and build homes and workplaces by 2035, towards achieving net zero and the ambitions of the Well-being of Future Generations Act:
- Through creating good quality green jobs to build, maintain and improve homes and workplaces so they are well suited to the needs of occupants;
- Through a focus on electrified heating from renewable source alongside a more circular and efficient use of resources that minimises the use of non-renewable virgin materials;
- Through a culture of more aware and engaged citizens that use energy efficiently, alongside the protection and adaptation of buildings with significant historical value;
- Through ensuring that everyone can afford to keep their homes warm and safe. Where nobody lives in fuel poverty, or whose health and wellbeing is negatively impacted by their housing.
Our request for your evidence and views
In seeking submissions for this challenge, we recognise both the existing strategy of Welsh Government, including the Heat Strategy for Wales (https://www.gov.wales/heat-strategy-wales-html) We also recognise that some aspects of heating and building are devolved to Welsh Government, but others remain the responsibility of the UK Government.
The Group welcomes the submission of relevant views, case-studies and evidence, which can be submitted via the Group’s website: https://netzero2035.wales/submit-evidence/evidence-submission-portal/.
We are specifically interested in:
- What could speed up progress to a more ambitious deadline than 2050?
- What co-benefits / Future Generations Act goals (as set out in our vision) could future Welsh Government policy improve upon?
- Do you have examples of projects / research which contribute to increased pace in building decarbonisation, as well as contributing to other goals?
Please note that the Challenge Group is looking for evidence of what can be done by 2035 and what would need to be in place for that to happen. This call for evidence will be open from 1st November 2023 – 30th November 2023.
The Group will invite further feedback on its draft conclusions prior to presenting its report to the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru in the summer of 2024. More details will be provided to respondents in due course.