metro commercial blog

News and opinion on commercial property, energy efficiency in buildings and the environment, legislation and other loosely related topics we find of interest.

UK Hydrogen Strategy - the clean fuel of the future

In August 2021, the UK government released its Hydrogen Strategy focused on fast-tracking a thriving clean hydrogen economy to deliver 5 GW production by 2030. Low carbon hydrogen is essential if the UK meets Carbon Budget Six by the mid-2030s and net-zero by 2050. 
Even the most avid climate change sceptic must have moved their position somewhat in the light of the devastating weather events we have experienced over the last few years. Record-breaking rainfall and temperatures do not in themselves prove the climate is changing, yet they are a good indication that something quite frightening is happening to our weather. This is a brief outline of the IPCC sixth assessment report "The Physical Science Basis" released in 2021. 
COP26 – the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – will be held in Glasgow during November 2021 and hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy. Delegates will address the extent to which world leaders have achieved the aims of the Paris Agreement and set new targets for the coming years. So how effectively will COP26 help reduce carbon emissions?
In line with its plans to reduce all UK greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, the UK government is getting tougher on landlords of non-domestic rented buildings in England & Wales over EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) regulations. Landlords must ensure that all buildings in that category meet EPC Band B by 2030 regardless of when they were rented. Exactly how the new regulations will be implemented is still under consultation, and the government is accepting responses from all stakeholders, including landlords, tenants, local authorities and suppliers. This is likely to have big implications for commercial landlords and tenants.
Internal flights between the Orkney Islands are to become greener. A recently launched eighteen-month project will test various low carbon emission aircraft on short routes between the islands. The aircraft power sources will include hydrogen fuel cells, batteries, and sustainable aviation fuels. The project will also assess the feasibility of using drones for delivering medical supplies.
Scotland is making substantial inroads in decarbonisation and tackling climate change. The country aims to reduce greenhouse gasses emissions to net-zero by 2045 and reduce them by 15% by 2030. Already 90% of Scotland's electricity supply is from renewables, and, encouraged by current progress, the Scottish Government is now focusing on reducing emissions from heating buildings and is heavily targeting new buildings.
Lendlease Europe has recently set out a bold plan to achieve zero carbon emissions from the fuel we burn by 2025 and absolute zero-carbon without using offsets by 2040. Here we will look at how the company intends to achieve these targets and examine some of their key milestones. 
Replacing natural gas by hydrogen for heating domestic residential and commercial buildings would have a massive impact on greenhouse gas emissions and reducing global warming. There is, of course, the important caveat that the hydrogen manufacture must be powered by renewable resources. There is no fundamental reason why this cannot be achieved, but there are significant challenges in doing so. 
If we could replace our standard central heating systems with a carbon-free solution, we would have the potential to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by as much as a third. Source: OFGEM. This would go a long way towards meeting the UK and Scottish governments net-zero targets. One solution is to replace natural gas-fired boilers with hydrogen fired boilers and produce the hydrogen using renewable resources. 
As the UK and devolved governments continue to provide a phased exit strategy from Covid-19 lockdown, businesses and institutions must emerge safely and in line with the latest public health advice. The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) has published a set of guidelines on how we can accomplish this. H...
"When a weather-controlling satellite system suddenly breaks down, a scientist must race against the clock to prevent a climate cataclysm on Earth." Geostorm - Currently on NetflixYou may be confused but this is not a film review! During the recent lockdown some may have watched the film Geostorm on Netflix. 
The skies are bluer, there are virtually no con-trails creating cloud cover, and the air smells so much cleaner. It's just like the olden days that our grandparents would wax nostalgically about. Doubtless, the shutdown has improved air quality in our cities, and the effect is global. But is it just a blip or will it have a long term impact on health and climate change? 
 A new net-zero ready mixed cement product Concrete is the most important structural material in the world. A composite material made from cement, aggregates such as gravel, sand and rock, along with water, humankind has been using it since the times of the ancient Egyptians. However, behind concrete's many benefits lurk massive dangers t...
While extreme weather events have their most significant impact on poorer vulnerable countries, rich countries are experiencing the effects of climate change to an increasing extent. The exposure and vulnerability of countries to extreme events are indicated by the Global Climate Risk Index (CRI) published by Germanwatch. This focusses on both fatalities and economic losses. Perhaps surprisingly, some of the world's richest countries appear high on that list. For instance. For the year 2018, Germany, Europe's most prosperous country, was ranked third on the CRI scale, Japan and The Philippines filling slots one and two respectively.
​The UK Government has committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with the Scottish Government having committed to become net zero by 2045. This includes decarbonising heating and hot water generation, which currently account for around a third of UK's total greenhouse gas emissions. There are two feasible options: full electrification of all h...
In addition to new regulations for reducing energy use and CO2 generated as a result of operating existing buildings,  air travel is also attracting a  lot of attention so much so that the term "flying shame" has been coined recently with pressure for consumers to reduce flying. Whilst we usually consider CO2 reduction in buildings&n...
Air quality in cities: Vehicle emissions and Low Emission Zones  It is not only buildings that are being required to improve their environmental credentials with many councils across the UK having introduced low emission zones (LEZ) for all but the latest combustion engine vehicles. In London an Ultra zone Emission Zone has been intr...
As previously reported, a consultation was carried out by the Scottish Government to investigate improving the energy efficiency of the private sector residential stock. Some of the key questions and statements made are as follows. Responses to this consultation have been collected and are being reviewed by the Scottish Government. Some o...
Minimum energy efficiency for residential property  The Scottish Government intend to introduce minimum energy efficiency standards for private rented residential property to Scotland, similar to that due to be introduced in England and Wales through Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in England and Wales. The Scott...
The world is bathed in energy beamed directly from our sun. The energy content of solar radiation is sufficient to supply all the planet's power requirements multiple times over. Unlike coal and other fossil fuels, the sun's energy will never run out. It is also entirely non-polluting, and doesn't result in carbon dioxide emissions. But converting ...
Improving energy efficiency in large buildings in Scotland Buildings exempt from Section 63 regulations. ​Buildings with a floor area less than 1,000 sq mBuildings that have met or exceed the 2002 Scottish Building Regulations energy standards.Temporary buildings with an intended life span of less than two years.Workshops and agricultural...