Ryan Cossar: Climate change and Modern Methods of Construction
Ryan Cossar from the Scottish Futures Trust argues that the whole life performance of new affordable homes must be at the forefront of net zero calculations.
Recent Government data shows that as much as 80% of the carbon emissions from buildings can be attributed to housing.
Amidst the climate emergency, policy makers, housebuilders and homeowners alike are all exploring ways to reduce carbon emissions through various means in attempts to achieve Net Zero Carbon homes.
But are they going far enough?
As a nation we seem typically concerned by the performance of the things we buy, for example when we go to buy a car, we want to know how many miles per charge (or MPG in old money) it can get or how fast really is my ‘lightning’ fast broadband connection to allow me to work from home.
However, the performance of our homes has not readily been monitored nor regarded as a unique selling point.
Historically, homes have been designed, procured, and constructed to comply with building standards, and recent enhancements to the regulations will significantly reduce the carbon emissions of future homes.
To achieve ambitions for Net Zero Carbon (and beyond net zero) more effectively we must look beyond baseline compliance and consider aspects of upfront carbon, embodied carbon and operational carbon, and approach the delivery of new affordable homes around whole life performance.
Offsite construction of homes has been heralded by many sources as the solution to build more high-quality homes faster, that are greener, smarter, safer, and adaptable.
To enable higher performing affordable homes, we have been working as part of the Edinburgh Home Demonstrator programme to develop a new delivery model using offsite construction to reduce reliance on energy for heating and hot water so that people can live in warm and healthy homes for years to come.
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- Ryan Cossar is an associate director at infrastructure body, the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) and is an experienced architect. He has led the design and development of various housing schemes across Scotland for local authorities and Registered Social Landlords and has been at the forefront of innovative approaches, including off-site manufacturing techniques and improving performance. Ryan supports SFT’s work on the Edinburgh Homes Demonstrator programme and the national strategy SFT is developing jointly with the Scottish Government for delivering more affordable homes using off-site construction.