New project to create reduced plastic and carbon new homes

An innovative research and development partnership has launched to help housebuilders and the construction industry build carbon zero, plastic-free and fuel-efficient homes in Liverpool. Ultimately the aim will be to create a blueprint for sustainable and affordable homes worldwide.

This pioneering project run by one of the largest housing groups, the University of Liverpool and a not-for-profit environmental company will commence in Liverpool by building six prototype houses.

The prototype houses will include six different solutions to tackle carbon, plastic pollution and fuel poverty. The first house will be designed and built to prioritise carbon reduction, while the second will aim to prioritise plastic reduction. The remaining four will be developed as a chain of hybrid carbon/plastic-reduced homes, which will be used to identify and address the potential conflicts between these two objectives.

After the six new homes have been constructed, six families will be invited to ‘test live’ the homes, moving in and collaborating with the research team to study how the homes function for residents in everyday life.

The fresh thinking that will go into building these carbon-free houses includes ensuring that the problem of a climatic crisis is not shifted to an environmental one.

Plastic has a devastating impact on the natural environment. This five-year project is the first to address the balance between carbon and plastic reduction in the design and construction of affordable housing.

At present, the construction industry is still responsible for 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, 50% of the world’s energy consumption and 40% of raw materials. Globally, 380 million tonnes of plastic is produced annually and 20% of this is destined for the construction industry.

Over a 25 year project, the partnership’s research will seek to investigate alternative plastics that can be used within the construction process, not only within the affordable housing sector, but also prove to be a game-changer for the private construction industry, transforming the way UK housebuilders and developers use materials to build new homes that are plastic and carbon-free.