Skills for Net Zero Homes

Energy Systems Catapult set out our current thinking on policies for decarbonising buildings over the next two decades in ‘Six steps to zero carbon buildings’ and the accompanying ‘Towards an enduring policy framework to decarbonise buildings’.

This Policy Brief – Skills for Net Zero Homes – builds on the proposals laid out in the Six Steps framework, focusing on proposals to develop training and build the skills we will need in supply chains to effectively deliver zero carbon technologies.

Buildings account for almost 20% of UK carbon emissions, mainly the result of using fossil fuels for space and water heating – yet it is not a one size fits all approach. With some of the oldest and most energy inefficient housing stock in Europe and about 90% of existing homes expected to still be in use in 2050, the UK has the task of upgrading up to 27 million homes.

Key points

This policy brief sets out the case for accelerating the market for zero carbon skills and training to tackle the unparalleled task upgrading of UK housing stock and heating systems for Net Zero.

Millions of individual retrofit interventions need to be coordinated nationally, regionally and locally. The size of the problem is enormous, and currently, there are not enough tradespeople with relevant skills to carry out the work at the scale required.

By doing nothing, the domestic retrofit sector will remain fragmented, delivering insufficient and poor-quality installations for consumers, and the UK will fail to meet the government’s 2050 net zero target.

Our vision for developing Skills for Net Zero Homes includes:

  • Backing industry ambitions to grow the UK supply chain but suggest further foresighting and quantification to understand both the extent of training and jobs required, and to refine the range and understanding of roles needed to increase certainty and confidence in the sector.
  • Developing a national programme for retrofit of training courses, standards, and qualifications with regional coordination, agreed in collaboration with various industry bodies.
  • Integrating three elements of the national curricula which are not emphasised at present: 1) a ‘whole systems’ view, 2) aspects of the customer journey into advice and assessment, and 3) promoting innovation (from both a technical and commercial perspective).
  • Reviewing the current market arrangements for the quality chain including suitable standards and qualifications for tradespeople installing low carbon technologies, validation and assessment of competencies, exploring options for escalation routes through an ombudsman (or equivalent) and introducing a robust method for measuring performance.
  • Building upon existing frameworks and funding skills conversion courses for already-accredited tradespeople including Gas Safe, MCS, TrustMark accredited plumbers, boiler installers, electricians and builders with low carbon equivalents
  • Introducing a carbon emissions-oriented EPC that places greater emphasis on ‘actual’ rather than ‘deemed’ performance, to demonstrate improvements once low carbon technologies have been installed.
  • Building on the roles set out by PAS 2035 to ensure an efficient process for the supply chain and ensure a better experience for the customer. This may include developing appropriate tools and training courses (e.g. advice and assessment) to complement existing ones.

Download the Policy Brief

Skills for Net Zero Homes

Skills and Training for Net Zero Homes

Accelerating the market for zero carbon skills and training to drive an unparalleled upgrading of UK housing stock and heating systems.

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