Small wind turbines, such as those attached to buildings, will not help the UK meet targets to cut home and office carbon emissions, engineers have warned.
A Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) report, written by Professor Doug King, said far greater cuts could be achieved in new buildings and in “retrofitting” old buildings by focusing on bringing energy use down through efficiency measures.
He said the construction industry will struggle to meet Government targets to make all new homes “zero-carbon” by 2016 - and all new buildings by 2020 - because of a lack of skills in understanding the energy use of buildings.
Long-term targets to cut UK emissions by 80% by 2050 will also be threatened without a “step change” in improving energy efficiency of existing properties, said Dr Scott Steedman of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The vast majority of the buildings to be occupied in 2050 are already built, and traditional methods of saving energy, such as loft insulation, will not deliver the reductions needed.
King said on-site renewable energy generation, like small wind turbines or solar panels, makes little contribution to tackling energy demand.
This kind of very expensive “eco-bling” achieves little or nothing, Prof King said.