Cutting emissions is on everyone’s agenda, especially with the UN Climate Change Conference starting on 31st October in Glasgow. What can be done domestically to make a difference?
If we are to get to ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, every area of our lives will need to change, including our homes, and starting as soon as possible. The National Housing Federation points out that homes in England produce more carbon emissions than all the cars in the country, and about 20% of all UK emissions. Two areas for improvement identified by the Federation are residential property’s gas central heating systems and insulation. The use of smart technologies has also been highlighted as a way forward.
This year alone, the UK government is investing £1.3 billion to support people in making their homes more energy efficient. But, at the end of the summer, the government’s plans to reduce emissions produced by our homes were labelled as too confusing and complicated by a coalition of consumer and industry groups.
Three key concerns
As reported by the BBC, the coalition comprises Citizens Advice, the Federation of Master Builders, the Aldersgate Group and Which? To make sure the plans to decarbonise our homes succeed, it wants to see action in three areas.
- Information Providing people with accessible, unbiased information on steps, such as installing low-carbon heating and upgrading home insulation.
- Consumer protection The collation wants to see fit-for-purpose schemes to avoid the risk of rogue traders and scams; previous energy efficiency schemes, such as the Green Homes Grant, have come under much criticism.
- Costs A full, long-term policy framework is needed to reassure businesses and consumers on the plans and to offer grants, low-cost loans and financial support when decarbonising.
Earlier in the summer, a number of major housebuilders united with environmental groups and the government to design and construct homes that will be net-zero ready within four years. The group has also committed to delivering ‘places and developments that are consistently low-carbon, nature-rich, resilient-healthy, well-designed and beautiful’. For more on this, search ‘Future Homes Task Force’ or go to: futurehomes.org.uk
Want to act now?
Government-endorsed energy advice is available online at simpleenergyadvice.org.uk covering ways to reduce energy bills, make your home warmer, plan home improvements and make your home greener.