Under new government regulations, domestic buildings built after 2025 will need to produce around 70-80% less carbon emissions than homes delivered under current regulations. This year non-domestic building regulations include a 27% improvement on carbon emissions as an interim step ahead of further enhancements.

The ‘Future Homes Standard’ will come into effect in 2025, to ensure that new homes in England are built to minimise losses and have low-carbon heating systems in place. Recent surveys by Savills outlined the particular challenges posed by this legislation in rural areas where buildings are traditionally less efficient than their urban counterparts due to more historic building fabric, more extreme environmental conditions, and a reliance on oil-based heating systems.

“Rural infrastructure and dwellings will see many changes in the years ahead, the amount of energy they give off will have to be reduced by increasing insulation levels as well as new carbon saving technologies,” explains Michael Collins, RIBA, RIAS, sustainable accredited architect LLP, who will be chairing a session dedicated to sustainable architecture and nature-based building materials at the Low Carbon Agriculture Show in March next year.

“Essentially, the places where people live and work in these areas need to become much more efficient.

“Farmers and landowners have the benefit of incorporating innovative systems into building infrastructure, but unlike urban areas, can also tap into whole estate to create more integrated energy strategies,” he says.

“There are generally great opportunities in renewable energy generation and micro energy generation, to produce energy for own-use and, if applicable, to export the rest to the grid.”

Michael explains that buildings of the future will need to be made from sustainable, low carbon or carbon negative materials. “Carbon intensive concrete will be phased out for example, and new timer technologies and  ‘nature-based’ materials, such as hemp or wool insulation, wood fibre boards, mycelium insulation – which is fed off agri-waste, will be phased in. And MMCS or ‘Modern Methods of Construction’ will be used, whereby modular building components are made offsite and assembled in situ.

“There is so much opportunity in rural sectors – and the countryside is very much a key driver of future innovation, where we will see major breakthroughs from the rural economy,” adds Michael.

Farmers wanting to find out about how the new regulations affect them, and to learn about opportunities for sustainable buildings, are invited to attend Low Carbon Agriculture Show, at the NAEC, Stoneleigh on 8 and 9 March 2022, boasting the new conference session on sustainable architecture and nature-based materials.

The session will be chaired by Michael Collins, and will cover:

  • A detailed look at what makes a sustainable building, explaining the key considerations when embarking on a rural newbuild, commercial or domestic, including carbon footprint, biodiversity, the impact on the local environment, water use and energy performance;
  • Practical guidance on the planning application process;
  • A focus on the modern methods of construction and the choices of nature-based building materials;
  • A case study of an estate owner that has completed a number of sustainable buildings on their site, providing first hand info on the lessons learned.

Low Carbon Agriculture Show is free to attend and features four expos in one event: Energy Now Expo, Low Emission Vehicles Expo, Environmental Business Expo and Farm Technology Expo.

The Energy Now Expo, features an exhibition accompanied by an energy storage theatre and a cutting-edge conference programme, covering all forms of renewables. The Low Emission Vehicles Expo will showcase the latest low-carbon transport and machinery solutions, highlight the related opportunities, and feature a test track. The Environmental Business Expo will include an exhibition and conference sessions offering practical guidance to farmers on the management and reduction of harmful greenhouse gasses, carbon sequestration, regenerative farming and effective environmental land management, in preparation for the ELM scheme. Suppliers of innovative agri-tech will take part in the exhibition and workshop area within the Farm Technology Expo.

Visit www.lowcarbonagricultureshow.co.uk to learn more.

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