Community planning: Low Carbon Communities
Low carbon communities
What and how
Low Carbon Neighbourhoods –
what are they and how do we get there?
The basic principles of community planning for low carbon communities are to create:
- Resource efficient neighbourhoods which consume a minimum of non-renewable resources and generate the minimum possible carbon emissions.
- Neighbourhoods which provide the best possible quality of life for people living and working in them.
- Energy efficiency: the first priority – roof and cavity wall insulation, draft reduction, double glazed windows, modern gas boilers - in houses and community buildings;
- Energy generation: households and communities using buildings to generate and sell their own energy using renewable sources – often referred to as micro-generation – through the installation of some combination of solar thermal panels, photo-voltaic panels and ground and air source heat pumps;
- Water efficiency: reducing consumption through low water use showers, grey water recycling and rainwater harvesting;
- Waste management: reduction, re-use and recycling of waste generated by households and community buildings.
- Minimising neighbourhood energy consumption;
- Maximising the neighbourhood’s generation and use of renewable energy;
- Using local carbon offsetting to deal with residual carbon emissions. e.g. by using funds generated by new housing to pay for energy efficiency installations in nearby neighbourhoods;
- Changing both places and people – physical change has to be accompanied by changes in lifestyle and behaviour.
There are a variety of ways in which the journey to a low carbon community can be started and many routes are possible – depending on local circumstances:
- A community-led carbon reduction component is added to an existing neighbourhood development or regeneration programme;
- Reducing fuel bills and carbon emissions is the issue around which new community-led neighbourhood initiatives start and develop as the basis of a wider neighbourhood development or regeneration programme;
- Reducing carbon emissions is built in as a core component of a statutory community-led Neighbourhood Plan.