This week saw some impressive new milestones reached in the transition to a zero-carbon society. It also saw some interesting studies published, which highlight why building family housing in our city centres is so important. 

Solar energy soars

Over the past few weeks we’ve brought you a lot of news on the renewable energy revolution. It’s showing no sign of slowing down, and exciting milestones keep being reached.

This week global energy data showed that solar was the fastest-growing source of new energy worldwide last year, outstripping the growth in all other forms of power generation for the first time ever. 

Renewables accounted for a whopping two-thirds of new power added to the world grids last year, according to data from the IEA, and solar made up the biggest chunk of this. But solar’s growth isn’t about to plateau. The IEA predicts a further 43% growth of solar by 2022. 

Urban living makes you happier and healthier 

A new study by Oxford University and the University of Hong Kong found inner-city living makes for healthier, happier people. It discovered that people living in dense urban areas in or near city centres were more active and socially engaged than people who live in the sprawl of suburbia.

People living in built-up areas had lower levels of obesity and exercised more, as urban density encourages walking and makes people less dependent on cars. 

This is precisely why we only build on brownfield sites near city centres, as it means people can walk or cycle to work and frees them from the polluting stress of a daily commute in traffic. It’s fantastic to see that this is making people happier and healthier, it means we were right to always build in the centre of cities. 

New electric tech

In tech news, there’s been more exciting developments in the world of air travel. A start-up called Zunum Aero announced plans for a hybrid-electric plane capable of flying up to 700 miles.  They hope to be taking passengers on short-haul flights as soon as 2022, which could prevent millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions if it successfully disrupts the polluting air-line industry.

This week also saw the car maker GM announced it’s planning 20 new electric models over the next 6 years. With climate change and air pollution, we need to move to all-electric vehicles as fast as possible. That's why will be building the Climate Innovation District with electric car charging points in every parking space, to make this transition as easy as possible.

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