Housing stock energy modelling: Towards a model for Wales

The combination of increasing global demand for energy and strict carbon emissions targets have made the decision-making process around acquiring and using energy complex. In the context of the net zero by 2050 commitment, the UK and devolved governments are interested in understanding the emissions implications of policy decisions and the interrelationships between decisions in different sectors. Carbon modelling provides a structured way of assessing carbon emissions produced under various policy decisions. It enables scenarios to be tested, to inform the policy-making process, and will be particularly useful in informing and understanding the implementation of policies and proposals in the Net Zero Wales Plan (Welsh Government, 2021).

WCPP was asked to support the Welsh Government to develop an approach to capture the carbon impact of policy decisions in the housing sector, including an assessment of how examples of good practice can be built upon.

Our review looked at two modelling approaches, which we called ‘traditional’ and ‘dynamic’ housing stock energy models. Traditional models look at the energy use in housing and the emissions associated with these. Dynamic models consider the carbon emissions associated with construction, renovation and demolition of the housing stock.

We recommend a modelling approach which combines the strengths of both approaches in a single ‘Welsh Housing Model’ which can be used to model emissions associated with housing, including the impact of policy interventions to reduce emissions, as well as considering ways to bring in more complex analyses of household behaviour; housing stock archetypes; and future climate scenarios, among others.