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Reducing the carbon impact of properties in the UK's private rented sector (PRS): Examining the role that a property in the private rented sector can play in reducing the United Kingdom's overall climate change impact

Murphy, Lena (2015) Reducing the carbon impact of properties in the UK's private rented sector (PRS): Examining the role that a property in the private rented sector can play in reducing the United Kingdom's overall climate change impact. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Climate change is a pressing issue requiring an international response. The UK has pledged to reduce its emissions by 80% in 2050 from 1990 levels. The overarching framework to achieve this is the Climate Change and Energy Acts, which tackle the intertwining issues of climate change, emissions, and energy.

The domestic property sector is responsible for around a quarter of the UK’s emissions. The government’s response in this sector to reduce the carbon impact include primary policy instruments such as: the Green Deal, Energy Company Obligation, Renewable Heat Incentive, Feed-in Tariff, and Energy Performance Certificates (EPC). The primary objective of this dissertation was to determine if a challenging property in the private rented sector could achieve a hypothetical energy efficiency A-rating utilising the government’s current policy instruments and finance mechanisms. And whether the improvement measures necessary to achieve this level are feasible to implement, and the owners of the property would allow tenants to implement these measures.

To investigate improving the energy efficiency of housing from a practical perspective, particularly within the private rented sector (PRS), a case study is explored: St Mary’s Cottage, is a privately rented, pre-1900, heritage listed property. Using the policy instruments currently available to householders in the UK, hypothetical energy efficiency ratings were measured via the EPC to determine the ideal improvement measures for this property.

The current EPC rating for St Mary’s Cottage is D57 (ranked from 1 to 100), which is around the UK average. It was proven that it could hypothetically achieve an A-rating, utilising the government’s current policy instruments. However, weighing up all factors – including financial mechanisms, capital costs of improvement measures, and listing status limitations – the best feasible EPC increase is to B88, which would save around 4 tonnes of emissions annually. Consulting the owners of the property to determine which improvements they would allow a tenant to implement, limited the EPC increase to C75.

This more challenging case study demonstrated the possibilities to decrease the carbon impact within the existing UK housing stock. If homeowners nationwide implemented a range of measures to increase the energy efficiency of their properties to a similar level, this could potentially reduce the overall UK carbon impact by 15%.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor: Pryor, Trevor
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/28627
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