Two Manchester University academics have led work on a report about sustainable energy in the UK. Professor Simon Guy and Dr Patrick Devine-Wright have authored a study with the predictably cheesy title ‘Powering Our Lives: Sustainable Energy Management and the Built Environment‘. Over 213 fun-packed pages, it looks at how the UK’s buildings and spaces will need to evolve to help cut carbon emissions and cheerfully concludes that the UK is ‘locked-in’ to using certain forms of energy not because they are better but because ‘that’s the way we’ve always done things around here…’ i.e. It would cost too much to change the infrastructure and create and enforce the regulations to support it.
Professor John Beddington, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Director of the Foresight Programme, the government think tank that co-sponsored the work with the Department for Communities and Local Government, said: “The energy used to power buildings is responsible for over 50% of UK carbon emissions…. We need to think again about how we produce and use energy and this report explores the link between the energy we use to power our lives and the places we use it in.”
The report says there is no ‘magic bullet’ to reduce carbon emissions or ‘decarbonise’ the energy we use. However, it does propose behavioural and regulatory changes which could be introduced over the next 50 years, to overcome this inertia. Three key areas for change are: Upgrading of buildings and spaces to be more carbon neutral, a move to decentralised energy systems and changed human behaviours in the built environment.
Supported by Artists Project Earth
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