Birmingham City University experts have criticised the government’s plans to build thousands of new homes on brownfield sites.
The new home would be exempt from the zero carbon homes standard and other taxes, according to experts, who call this a “short-sighted approach that misses a major opportunity to significantly reduce the carbon emissions of much-needed new homes.”
Professor Keith Osman, director of research at Birmingham City University, is urging the government to think about the long term and use a more integrated strategy in future planning, an approach that is currently being pioneered by a pan-European consortium led by the University.
“Ignoring climate change and easing regulations to reduce construction costs in the short term is a false economy for planners when building new homes on this scale.” The use of analytic tools clearly demonstrates that energy usage reductions, which reduce both CO2 emissions and energy costs for occupants, can always be achieved and should be a mandatory requirement for all new build housing.
“The KIC-Transitions (KIC-T) project combines data, modelling, and visualisation tools to provide a comprehensive simulation framework to aid strategic planning.” This integrated platform allows users to “plug in” to a variety of data sets for analysis of key environmental impacts such as energy consumption, noise pollution, and carbon emissions.
“This demonstrates how critical our project will be in assisting planners in better assessing the impact of such ambitious proposals when built without due enforcement of regulations that minimise environmental impact.”
According to Professor Osman, the improved modelling capability being developed through KIC-T will enable planners, designers, local governments, and homeowners to better understand the full implications of planning decisions.
“KIC-T is defining standards and software to allow data, models, and visualisation tools to be easily plugged together, allowing for the creation of more comprehensive models that can be applied to all building projects around the world,” he added.
“KIC-T has a real opportunity to make a significant contribution to modelling and visualising building and construction plans,” said Dave Taylor, KIC-T Project Manager, “and demonstrates Birmingham City University’s commitment to the larger sustainability and climate change agenda.”
Birmingham City University (Co-ordinator), ETH Zurich, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, as well as large international companies such as ESRI and IBM, smaller companies such as Aria Technologies, SmarterBetterCities, and Greenhill, and the three cities of Birmingham, Utrecht, and Zurich, comprise the KIC-T project team.
The Climate-KIC is Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership, addressing the challenge of climate change. The Climate-KIC is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), which has a broader mission to increase European sustainable growth and competitiveness by strengthening the EU’s innovation capacity.