Around 25 million homes in the United Kingdom should be insulated by 2050 to reduce the country's carbon emissions, a new report revealed.

That means one home every minute should be refurbished between now and 2050. However, experts warn these existing homes will not meet the standards required by the middle of the century.

Cutting Carbon Emissions

According to a report by BBC News, the UK needs to decrease its carbon emissions by 80 percent in 33 years, and about a 30 percent of those emissions come from heating drafty buildings.

Local authorities have allocated limited funding to insulate council homes, while owner-occupiers and landlords are hesitant to invest large sums in disruptive improvements that will save on bills, but will take decades to pay off.

The new report, which was authored by leading construction experts from the Green Building Council, explains that four in every five homes for occupancy in 2050 have already been completed. This means 25 million homes will need insulation to the highest standards in 33 years at a rate of 1.4 homes a minute.

Study authors believe this challenge offers an opportunity under the current government's infrastructure programs. In fact, they say the business of insulating floors, roofs, and walls produces more jobs and provides more benefits than any other infrastructure plan.

Refurbishing Buildings

The problem, however, is funding. The Green Deal scheme for owner-occupiers did not work out as critics pointed out insulation interest rates were too high and the process itself was too difficult.

The UK has not offered a substitute program to generate necessary demand for refurbishments. With that, the new report suggests the following:

1. That the government sets staged targets for insulating buildings;

2. That the government reintroduces "zero-carbon" standards for buildings in 2020;

3. That the government sets long-term trajectories for improving home energy standards;

4. That the government places energy efficiency as a national priority;

5. And that the government urges commercial buildings to disclose the amount of energy they use.

Furthermore, the report points out that the construction industry needs clear expectations as to what it should deliver, as well as measurements to discover what is being built. This could lead to innovation.

"People will have warmer homes and lower bills; they will live longer, happier lives," GBC head Julie Hirigoyen told BBC News. "We will be able to address climate change and carbon emissions."

Hirigoyen called for support from builders and talked about a firm called q-bot, which insulates floors with the help of robots that creep under floorboards. It's an unconventional way of insulation.

In the meantime, the UK government has to convince 25 million homes to allow refurbishing. The future depends on it.

Photo: Salim Fadhley | Flickr

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.