Kiss House (SBE0061)
Written evidence submitted by Kiss House
Kiss House: Pioneering building materials, systems and homes.
Kiss House wants to change the way people think about housing by creating the world’s best housing product. We believe housing should meet our highest needs, so people can live their best lives.
We are submitting evidence of our low embodied carbon product innovations, with applications beyond our own needs.
2.How can materials be employed to reduce the carbon impact of new buildings, including efficient heating and cooling, and which materials are most effective at reducing embodied carbon?
There's enormous potential to displace high embodied carbon content products like concrete and steel in the industry using Fibre Reinforced Polymer to reduce the amount of embodied carbon found in the foundations of buildings.
In a report by oCo Carbon Ltd, commissioned by Kiss House, levels of embodied carbon of existing ground floor systems are compared to the new ground floor system developed by Kiss House. The Kiss House system demonstrates a 70% reduction of embodied carbon to the next available alternative. Strip foundations with a beam & block floor has the greatest carbon footprint, followed by piles, beam & block, and strip foundations with poured slab. This research is based on the best available data looking at full carbon life cycle through desk based assessment.
The most significant saving is life cycle stage A emissions. Kiss House ground floor system saves 71 kgCO2e/m2 in life cycle stage A emissions, relative to the poured slab alternative. This is equivalent to 37% of the median stage A emissions for single-family homes. Of the approximately 170,000 new build completions in the year to end of 2019, 78% were houses. Assuming all these houses would be suitable for the Kiss House ground floor system, the total annual market would be 132,000 houses per year, each with an average floor area of 114 m2 . Achieving the savings of 71 kgCO2e/m2 for all these homes could potentially amount to a reduction of 1 million tCO2e annually.
The Kiss House system has significantly lower embodied carbon than the traditional construction methods. This is due primarily to the absence of concrete and steel in the construction. Our future plans include creating a structural natural fibre reinforced polymer material to replace FRP for a more significant carbon saving solution (a nature based composite).
There needs to be national policy or an incentive to facilitate an integrated approach across all platforms in the industry to collaborate on displacing the use of petro-chemicals in favour of more sustainable solutions.
3.What role can nature-based materials play in achieving the Government’s net zero ambition?
According to AMA Research, “Building Insulation Products Market Report UK - 2017- 2021,” the total size of the UK insulation market is around £800 million, with nearly 70% of taken up by mineral fibres and PIR/PUR insulation.
Nature based materials are an incredibly effective way to reduce embodied carbon.
By enhancing natural fibres with additives, we can maximise on their effectiveness and displace mainstream petrochemical based products. They have the potential to define the end of the era of materials with high embodied carbon content and to achieve the Government’s net zero ambition.
With reference to the table below, the unenhanced natural fibre insulation would reduce embodied carbon by approximately 5,000 tCO2/year when substituted for mineral wool products under the market penetration scenario assessed in this study, while sequestering 15,500 tCO2. The enhanced natural fibre insulation would reduce embodied carbon by almost a further 120,000 tCO2/year when substituted for PIR/PUR products, while sequestering over 7,500 tCO2. Using natural fibre enhanced insulation means that the potential embodied carbon saving would be approx 8 million tCO2/year, whilst sequestering over 1.6 million tCO2.
There is mass market potential to use enhanced natural fibres in insulation but costs must come down to achieve this, especially as high carbon products are on the rise, as can be seen below. The graph below is a forecast of what will happen in the insulation sector.
We have ten years left to save the planet. The purpose of the RIBA 2030 Challenge is to address net zero over the next 10 years. If there’s a call to save the planet in the next 10 years, it is perverse that petro-chemical products are set to rise in the same time frame. This trend must be reversed. Enhanced natural fibres have a significant role to play in achieving the government’s net zero ambition.
Ultimately natural fibre insulation enhanced with nano materials needs to be made mainstream as they match the performance of synthetic materials. However, natural fibre insulation currently only takes up 5% of the market. It is worth noting that Kiss House’s natural fibre insulation uses recycled fibre that is cheaper than virgin fibre.
We need to put an end to this era of high embodied carbon through use of enhanced natural materials. It is time for an era of transformation where hybrid natural products are mainstream.