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'Lack of imagination' threatens plans for zero carbon homes – University of Reading

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'Lack of imagination' threatens plans for zero carbon homes

Release Date 13 February 2013

Leading donors to the University catch up at The President's Breakfast Forum

Leading donors to the University of Reading discovered more about delivering ‘zero-carbon', the biggest challenge faced by the UK new build housing sector to date, in London last week.

The annual President's Breakfast Forum celebrates the contribution made by donors who help to maintain the University's position as one of the world's top 1% of universities. This year's event, hosted by KMPG, provided guests with the opportunity to hear from one of the leading experts in the field, Professor Martin Sexton, Director of Research in the University of Reading's School of Construction Management and Engineering.

In 2006, the UK Government stated that all new homes must be zero-carbon by 2016. Professor Sexton discussed the difficulties of delivering this policy within the next four years and revealed that a lack of imagination between Government, developers and consumers could be hindering progress. 

Professor Sexton said: ''When the Government announced their bold vision for zero carbon homes from 2006, it wasn't commercially or technically feasible. We've found that consumers may not be receptive to incorporating low and zero carbon technologies in their homes, such as air source heating pumps and solar photovoltaic panels, if house builders are not effectively promoting the benefits.

‘‘The housing market needs to be more creative when it comes to inspiring consumers to go zero-carbon; such as publicising lower energy bills, or through providing ‘tailor-made' innovations that suit different groups of people. There is no such thing as a ‘quick fix'. Of course, change also relies on the Government's input, so clearer specification of 'zero-carbon' is urgently required."

The event provides a chance to network with fellow donors, to meet senior management and to hear from Reading academics on their latest groundbreaking research.

Helen Gordon, Henley Business School MBA graduate and Chief Executive of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: ''It was a valuable meeting of the Forum last week, which provided excellent networking opportunities and also a stimulating presentation from Professor Sexton. His talk made me think of how important the focus on behaviours and attitudes is to enable people to adapt to zero carbon innovation; a particularly important topic to reduce our carbon footprint."

The University of Reading has raised over £30 million from philanthropic and corporate sources since it began fundraising in 2004. To find out more about making a donation, please contact:


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