Reducing CO2 emissions of UK non-domestic buildings – conclusions of the Tarbase project

David Jenkins, Phillip Frank Gower Banfill, Andrew Peacock

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Tarbase is a £1.4 million low-carbon building project funded
by the UK Carbon Trust and the Engineering and Physical Sciences
Research Council under the Carbon Vision Buildings
programme. The project has a goal of specifying technologies
and practices that could reduce the carbon emissions of existing
buildings by 50% or more. This includes the investigation
of demand-side and supply-side measures and also accounts
for externalities such as a changing climate and a rise in energy
tariffs. The non-domestic part of the project has focussed
on energy use in offices, retail buildings, schools and hotels.
The results make clear that, even within each sub-sector, nondomestic
buildings are non-homogeneous. Different solutions
apply to different sectors. This fact is demonstrated by taking
a series of building “variants”, detailed specifications of buildings
that could exist (rather than average stock representations).
Several intervention packages are defined and applied
cumulatively to each variant, with each approach tailored
to that particular building. While the target of 50% carbon
savings is possible for many buildings, the changes required
should not be underestimated. Furthermore, the importance
of understanding internal activity is demonstrated, with the
effect of internal gains on the performance of various carbonsaving
technologies (such as building fabric insulation) often
underestimated. This paper explores the main conclusions of
the Tarbase non-domestic work and includes discussions on
the possibility of passively heating (and cooling) an office, the
danger of refurbished schools overheating and the problems with reducing the CO2 emissions of energy-intensive retail
buildings, such as supermarkets.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReducing Energy Demand Sustainably
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of ECEEE 2009 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency
PublisherEuropean Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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