The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


UCL-KTH Symposium Series Towards Net Zero Affordable Housing – Lessons from Sweden and the UK

5 July 2021

As part of a collaborative project between University College London (UCL) and KTH Stockholm, The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction (BSSC) hosted two hybrid virtual conferences on the pertinent topic of Net Zero and Affordable Housing.

net zero affordable housing event logo

The first event “Towards Net Zero Affordable Housing – The Swedish Perspective” was held on Monday 14th June and was chaired by Dr Bertram Steininger (KTH). The second event “Towards Net Zero Affordable Housing – The UK Perspective” was held on Wednesday 23rd June and was chaired by Dr Stanimira Milcheva (UCL).  

The societal and political support towards reducing carbon emissions has considerably increased over the last couple of years.  In April 2021, the UK government announced a world-leading commitment to set an ambitious climate change target into law to reduce carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. The UK has also adopted a net zero emissions target by 2050 by the latest, with a trajectory consistent with the Paris Agreement. 

The energy used in residential buildings contributes to 11% of total greenhouse gas emissions globally. Heating and hot water for UK homes make up 25% of total energy use and 15% of emissions. A further 4% of greenhouse gas emissions are the result of electricity used in the home for appliances and lighting. 

According to the 6th UK Carbon Budget published in December 2020, meeting the carbon targets related to buildings will require an annual investment of about £12bn up to 2050, which is offset by lower OPEX of about £5bn per year. The costs are equivalent to £10,000 per household on average. 

The question is how is that transition going to be funded taking into account the economic and financial risks associated with it? 

The symposiums provided a platform to discuss above considerations with prominent experts from academia and industry and aimed to uncover the data needs which can help us understand feasible pathways to achieving net zero in housing. 

Dr Stanimira Milcheva commented:  

"The series of symposiums between UCL and KTH in Sweden provided a deep dive into the issues regarding net zero in the housing sector in the UK and Sweden. On the UK side of the events we head high profile speakers such as Peter Denton who was the CEO of Hyde Housing and who will take over as the CEO of Homes England. They provided great insight into the challenges of achieving net zero by the affordable housing sector in the UK and what is needed to hit the targets. A main takeaway is that we need better data and more collaborations, which is something we want to continue working on as part of this project, funded by the UCL Cities Partnerships Programme. If you are interested in our Net Zero Affordable Housing initiative, please do get in touch with me."

Thank you to everyone who took part. If you were not able to attend, the recordings of the events are available to watch below.

Watch online - The Swedish Perspective

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3pNsi17lA0&t=7s


Watch online - The UK Perspective

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfQTz29mQbs&t=3540s