The climate crisis continues to be the biggest threat of our time, so to improve the chances of reaching critical net zero goals, it is vital we adapt and innovate. It’s a collective challenge that must be faced head-on, together to turn the clock hands back.
A key part will be finding the best route to accelerating decarbonisation of the UK’s homes. As our current technology and practices stand, the rate at which we can do so will not be fast enough and without such innovation we’re fighting an uphill battle.
The drive and development of new technologies and solutions will hugely tip these goals in our favour – making innovation vital to our success.
However, as much as the NHDG wants to support the growth and continue the momentum built within the sector, there has been cause for concern following the government’s recent steps back on green initiatives and policies.
This is troubling, as innovation naturally comes with the risk of being wrong. For innovation to continue and thrive, there must be confidence in the market. This means comprehensive support and investment, which provides the security needed for product development, and in turn helps avoid the negative impacts of excessively cold or warm homes as temperature changes shift more dramatically.
As the leading body in the housing decarbonisation sector, with many of the industry’s heavyweights among our members, we’re committed to supporting the government in maintaining the significant momentum built in recent years.
Primarily, support should be focussed in a three-pronged approach:
- Innovation in products and systems
- Digital innovation
- Innovation in business models
Of course, to be most effective the support should also be shaped and directed with input from industry-wide bodies like ourselves. It should also take the best parts from already-established mechanisms in other initiatives promoting innovation, such as SHDF Wave 1, ECO4 New Measures and Products, and Welsh Optimised Retrofit Programme 3.
On top of this, the same deliberation should be taken to improving consumer protection laws and product and installation standards – both of which require improvement and consistency to further benefit the product innovation process.
As product development journeys can be costly, time consuming, and – if not managed properly – run risk of not paying off in the long run, its small wonder companies are hesitant to direct resources into such routes without confidence in the eventual outcome.
To assuage these concerns, the innovation landscape needs a clear and high-profile commitment to net zero policies to reassure businesses long-term funding is allocated to underpin research and development.
Should this commitment to decarbonisation be communicated, then investor and consumer confidence will undoubtedly rise. Along with confidence in the long-term, concerns around lengthy timescales and costs to develop, certify, pilot, and produce new solutions will equally be minimised.
In other words, innovation will flourish, and our efforts to reach our ambitious net zero targets will multiply in effect.