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Today Lord Turner’s panel met for the first time to discuss a concrete strategy for fufilling the UK’s commitment to reducing emissions by 60% by 2050 (and to consider upping the target to 80%). With around a third of UK emissions coming from housing, this sector will inevitably play a key role in their strategy. You might think we could rely on the Code for Sustainable Homes to get us there – after all, if all homes from 2016 are Code level 6 then there will be no net emissions from new housing. But unfortunately new homes are only a small part of the problem.

The graph below illustrates the predicted emissions from the housing sector by age of housing stock for the period 2002 to 2050. It shows that the overwhelming proportion of emissions will continue to come from houses built before 2002. The dotted lines represent the emissions from all housing required to achieve a 60% and 80% reduction in emissions vs 1990 levels. Emissions from each band decreases over time due to demolition.

carbon emissions from housing by age of stock

Figure 1. Carbon emissions from housing sector by age of housing stock, 2002 – 2050

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