About a third of household greenhouse gas emissions come from our electricity use and heating. It is likely to be more for those with larger homes.
Insulate as much as you can to make your home warmer and to save on energy bills. Consider a whole house approach to achieve the best results, which can be undertaken in stages. When you update your heating system, the best option is likely to be a heat pump, but you should consider improvements to insulation first or at the same time.
You may wish to consider a loan to help invest in the long-term benefits from insulation. Grants are available to assist with the cost of a heat pump.
To achieve a zero carbon future, high insulation standards are needed for new buildings and for the retrofit of existing homes. The aim should be to reduce energy demand for heating by around 50% (Zero Carbon Britain 2019, p. 40). LETI Energy Use Intensity targets (see below) aim to achieve a 60-80% reduction in total energy consumption.
For more immediate low-cost improvements see: Good Energy advice on saving electricity at home.
The Centre for Alternative Technology give good advice on whole house eco-retrofit to cut home energy use and reduce carbon emissions.
There is lots of good free online advice from the Centre for Sustainable Energy on making your home warm and more energy efficient.
For financial assistance provided by the Government see guidance from the Energy Saving Trust. Also see my advice on help with heating bills.
Futureproof offer services giving independent and impartial advice and support to help with energy saving home improvements to homeowners and builders.
Zero Carbon New Build and Retrofit
LETI Climate Emergency Guides – Guides to achieve net zero for new builds and existing housing have been prepared by construction industry professionals representing a wide range of groups.
Net Zero Toolkit – A detailed guide to the design and construction of net zero homes, both new build and retrofit of existing homes, which is based on the LETI targets. Also includes some guidance for schools, offices, hotels and light industrial buildings.
The transition required from existing levels to the LETI retrofit target range
LETI Targets (KPIs – Key Performance Indicators)
The LETI toolkit provides clear guidance on what you should do when building or retrofitting to be Net Zero carbon. It also summarises some things not to do, including:
Don’t be misled or distracted by technologies and environmental schemes that do not achieve the desired outcome.
Avoid business as usual and follow the emerging consensus on how to achieve Net Zero operational carbon. Many traditional ways of heating and ventilating homes are not aligned with net zero.
Do not forget about the risk of moisture and condensation from applying insulation and thermal bridges. Specialist advise should be sought to avoid these risks.