Challenges and opportunities
Amongst the London boroughs, Croydon is currently the 13th least polluting of 33 with carbon emissions at 5.5 tonnes per capita. Croydon is in the midst of a £3.5 billion regeneration programme of new buildings offering office accommodation, leisure and shopping opportunities and homes. Whilst the council's planning policies will ensure low carbon developments, there will be an increased demand for energy during the period of construction. Currently all new large buildings are required by Croydon to source 10% of their energy needs from renewable sources, as well as meet Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4.
Croydon is London's largest borough in terms of population with over 340,000 residents. Emissions from the domestic sector make up the largest portion of Croydon's carbon footprint. Croydon has the largest private housing sector in London at over 116,000 homes. 26% are pre-1919 and 60% are pre-1945. Due to the age of the buildings, their energy efficiency is very low, leaving room for substantial improvement. The council is committed to achieving the government's aim for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016. Behavioural changes can effect the most change, (download our energy saving tips from the bottom of the page to see what you can do) however other changes can be significant. For example, if every light bulb in every London home was energy efficient, it could save 575,000 tonnes of CO2 and £139 million per year; if all appliances in homes were energy-efficient, this could translate into savings of £150 million from electricity bills and 620,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.
Commercial and industrial buildings
Croydon has more office floor space than anywhere else in south London with 58,000 m2. However, a high proportion is old stock (1940-1970) and only 6% is new (1990- 2003), compared to 57% in Reading and 60% in Crawley. Commercial buildings are typically refurbished every ten years, and energy efficiency improvements can be more easily made during refurbishment. Over 700 local businesses have already signed up to the Environmental Business Excellence Support programme 'Envibe' which offers free tailored support to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with travel, Envibe also offers environmental advice with respect to waste, recycling, water and procurement. Expanding this programme and developing a centralised method for monitoring, recognising and rewarding carbon savings could deliver significant improvements.