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UK has potential to further slash carbon emissions

The UK government has been accused of 'missing a trick' by one low carbon energy expert after he warned that viable and cost-effective ways of reducing emissions are not being implemented in its carbon reduction strategy for buildings.

The CEO of Lincolnshire, UK-based LowC Communities Richard Griffin has claimed that the attention placed on producing renewable heat is leading building owners away from achieving a much higher reduction in carbon emissions that are 'well within their reach'.

'Although I applaud any initiatives that increase the uptake of renewable energy technologies in this country, by only focussing on heat, we really are missing a golden opportunity to make significant reduction in operational carbon emissions,' Griffin says.

'The real carbon value is in electricity – the one commodity that we're all using more and more of, as our daily lives increasingly rely on technology. Put simply, there's approximately three times as much carbon associated with electricity consumption as compared to heat. The 2010 Building Regulations deems electricity from a grid connection to emit 0.517kg of CO2 per KWh, compared to 0.198kg for heat produced from natural gas.

'By generating electricity from renewable fuels and capturing any waste heat produced, we can significantly boost this country's carbon reductions.'

According to Griffin, one resolution is to utilise renewable combined heat and power (CHP) technology, powered by readily available, locally grown fuel such as rapeseed oil.

He continues: 'This technology has already proven itself in an ever-increasing number of buildings here in the UK. What's more, it's cost effective to run as it already generates income from double ROCs and, should the forthcoming legislation prove positive, then the heat produced may also quality for payments under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

'Although there are companies offering systems that run on alternative fuels such as fish oil and used cooking oil, we believe that they might not attract the same level of ROCs, if any at all. It does seem crazy to have to transport then process these fuels, whilst there's a pure and natural renewable fuel widely available right on our doorstop in the form of rapeseed oil.

'It can be grown as a break crop using set-aside land so it really does have no impact on the food chain, other than give the farming industry a much-needed boost.'

To date LowC Communities has implemented this solution at a number of buildings, the most recent being a new-build nursery and community building in Shefford, Bedforshire, for Bedfordshore East Schools Trust (BEST).