Housing and buildings challenges and solutions
- Over one-third of Herefordshire's greenhouse gasA gas in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone that absorbs solar heat reflected by the surface of the Earth, warming the atmosphere. (GHG) emissionsEmissions are any release of gases. are estimated to be from heating homes and other buildings
- It is estimated that with further emissions from power for lighting and air conditioning, as well as other building related activity this figure could rise to over a half of county emissions
- The UK's Climate Change Committee says "Near-complete elimination of GHG from buildings" is necessary to reach legally-binding UK climate action targets
- By 2031 the number of buildings in Herefordshire is planned to grow by 16,500 houses and an extra 55ha of commercial space for offices, shops, factories
As a county we urgently need to ensure that:
- All new buildings are net zeroBalancing the amount of emitted greenhouse gases with the equivalent emission that are either offset or sequestered. carbon
- All existing buildings are retrofitted to the maximum possible level of energy efficiency (for example improved insulation, glazing, doors)
- All existing buildings are retrofitted with low carbon heating and renewables such as heat pumps and solar panels
- All buildings contribute towards biodiversityAll the different kinds of life you'll find in one area. Includes the variety of animals, plants, fungi and microorganisms. net gain.
There are obvious links between buildings and several other areas of climate and nature action, including energy, transport and land use. Please see those sections of the action plan for more details.
The graphic shows buildings at the centre with the following areas of climate and nature action overlapping it: energy - embodied energy and energy in use, transport - where buildings are sited and how people get to them, land use - where buildings are sited.
Buildings in Herefordshire - current context
There are two main types of buildings: domestic (housing) and non-domestic (offices, shops, factories). Currently Herefordshire has about 83,765 homes, and over 20,000 non-domestic buildings.
Existing buildings (domestic)
Currently Herefordshire has about 83,765 homes and over 20,000 non-domestic buildings.
Herefordshire, as a large rural county, faces exceptional domestic energy challenges in relation to the age and type of housing and the availability of mains gas. The Buildings Research Establishment (BRE) analysis in 2019 that showed:
- Herefordshire homes emit more GHG than the UK average
- Herefordshire homes are older than the UK average - 28% were built before 1919
- A large proportion of these older homes are solid wall properties so are much less efficient from an energy efficiency and GHG emissions perspective
- Mains gas is available to an estimated 69% of properties. This means that one-third of homes rely on expensive and/or high-carbon fuels such as oil, electricity, LPG
- Herefordshire has high levels of fuel poverty
It's clear there's an urgent need for widespread action to improve the energy performance of existing buildings.
Existing buildings (non-domestic)
Non-domestic buildings vary from commercial and industrial units, shops, offices as well as public buildings such as schools, hospitals, libraries and museums. Analysis of EPC data indicates that non-domestic building energy performance broadly mirrors national data and highlights significant opportunity for improvement.
It's clear there's an urgent need for more action to improve the energy performance of existing buildings.
- Current projections are for 16,500 new houses and 150ha of new non-domestic buildings to be built in Herefordshire between 2011 and 2031. If these are built to current minimum standards, they will add significantly to Herefordshire's GHG emissions. It's therefore essential to increase building standards to much higher levels