A summary of our research findings and impact
CIE-MAP’s response to the key challenges
Recognising the key challenges for industry, CIE-MAP has considered the options to reduce industrial energy demand through further improvements in efficiency while also exploring the role of changing consumption patterns of materials and products. Material and product demand drives industrial emissions. Therefore, as well as a sector level analysis of UK Industry, CIE-MAP has undertaken a detailed assessment of resource productivity strategies from the re-design of products through to the sharing economy.
Many of these strategies could have significant consequences for the general public and UK PLC. With this in mind, CIE-MAP has conducted research on the willingness of the public to engage in resource efficiency measures (considering their response to reducing packaging and increasing product reparability and longevity, for example).
CIE-MAP identifies a clear role for UK Government in bringing about these changes. This is one of the reasons why CIE-MAP has formed a long-standing relationship with the UK Government. Our engagement with BEIS and DEFRA has involved updating their Energy and Emissions Projection model, providing analysis for the Industrial Roadmaps and Action Plans, and developing new indicators on resource and energy productivity. CIE-MAP researchers have informed the Minister of Industry and Climate Change and we are now directly shaping the UK Government’s strategy for increasing energy and resource productivity; feeding into both the Industrial Strategy and the Waste and Resources Strategy.
Sector Analysis of Industrial Energy
»» Reducing industrial energy demand could make a substantial contribution towards the UK Government’s goal of significant (80%) decarbonisation by 2050, whilst simultaneously improving productivity and creating employment opportunities.
»» The industrial sector in the UK accounts for some 21% of total delivered energy and 29% of CO2 emissions. Three sectors make up 50% of industrial emissions; Steel, Chemicals, and Cement.
»» Efficiency gains can be readily secured in industry, including those associated with the use of heat and with improvements in processing.
»» A set of selected ‘technology roadmaps’ have been developed in order to evaluate the potential deployment of the identified enabling technologies for the UK energy-intensive industries out to 2050.
Saving Energy through Resource Efficiency
»» Resource efficiency has similar overall potential to save energy as industrial energy efficiency approaches.
»» There is a huge range of opportunities to improve resource efficiency.
»» The energy saving scopes of resource efficiency and energy efficiency complement each other.
»» Firstly “getting more out” of products, and then “putting less in” to them, maximises value capture and energy savings.
»» Significant additional potential energy savings are outside the scope of energy efficiency or traditional resource efficiency approaches.
Resource consumption, industrial strategy and UK carbon budgets
»» Reducing resource consumption could meet the UK’s 4th and 5th carbon budgets.
»» Based on the implementation of our resource consumption strategies, UK emissions in 2032 would be 361 MtCO2e, 55% below 1990 levels.
»» Cumulatively, by 2032 BEIS’ climate package will exhaust 68% of the UK’s legally-binding target.
»» If the UK adopts the aspirations of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, the climate package will have exhausted 78% of the 2050 budget by 2032.
Reducing carbon in construction: a whole life approach
The UK construction sector is failing to meet its carbon reduction targets and needs to explore additional mitigation options. The carbon emissions from heating and lighting our buildings (operational emissions) have been falling but these are not the only emissions arising from the built environment. Sizeable carbon emissions are incurred in constructing, maintaining and demolishing an asset and producing the materials and components used throughout its life cycle (embodied emissions). Considering both the anticipated operational and embodied emissions of a built asset is considered a whole life approach. To date the construction industry has mainly focussed on reducing operational emissions, driven by changes in the building regulations and planning requirements. Extending the focus of project carbon assessments and targets from operational to whole life emissions presents designers, clients and contractors with a broader range of mitigation options. The faster proliferation of a whole life approach should be supported by national and local policies for which there are a number of international precedents. Targeted intervention from national and local government could drive innovation in design teams and supply chains, improve sector productivity, reduce the costs of UK buildings and infrastructure, create employment opportunities, boost export markets and deliver immediate reductions in carbon emissions.
1. The Government should establish a well resourced independent body to develop and accelerate the construction sector’s decarbonisation agenda.
2. Local authorities should require assessment of whole life carbon emissions on significant schemes as part of the planning process.
3. All publicly funded building projects should include a whole life carbon assessment and whole life carbon targets where project benchmarks can be established.
4. The greenhouse gas emission reporting requirements for quoted companies should be extended to include scope 3 emissions associated with developing new facilities.
5. Product manufacturers should require Environmental Product Declarations to support environmental claims.
Resource Efficiency and the Circular Economy: What do the public think?
» The public are willing and able to engage with debate around which aspects of resource efficiency should be fostered.
» People wanted to see a resource efficient future that protects the environment, the economy, and product quality.
» Many resource efficiency strategies, such as reducing packaging, increasing product repairability and longevity, and extending producer responsibility are already popular.
»Shared social values, such as fairness, trust, convenience, affordability and autonomy influence these preferences.