Homes account for 20% of our climate emissions, yet action to reduce these is slowing. At the current pace that we’re insulating existing homes and installing renewable heat systems, it will take over a century to reduce their emissions to zero. To have any hope of achieving the ambitions of the Paris climate agreement, to keep temperature rise to well below 2C, all sectors will need to reduce emissions to near-zero by 2050.
WWF’s new report, Getting the house in order - Priorities for homes in the Clean Growth Plan, shows that the UK Government must triple the speed at which we’re insulating homes each year. And without action to make new homes ultra-low carbon, total emissions from homes will actually rise by 2030, well below the 10% fall required by the Committee on Climate Change.
How could we do this? Well, millions of households haven’t done the basics like adding a roll of insulation to their loft or filling their cavity walls. As a nation, we spend £7.5 billion every year on home improvements, but most of that goes on new kitchens and bathrooms rather than insulation. Many people just aren’t aware of the money that they could be saving, and insulation just isn’t a routine part of the conversations had with tradespeople.
Government can help. It already offers free insulation to vulnerable households, but in 2012 it replaced incentives that were available to all with the Green Deal, which provided loans instead. Many home-owners can already borrow the required cash; the Green Deal offered no new incentive and few people took it up. The Green Deal lives on, providing an alternative way to finance improvements. But we need real incentives to grab people’s attention and get them thinking about energy improvements.
The report calls on the UK Government to show how it will help insulate four million homes between now and 2025 in its Clean Growth Plan, by:
- Set a target to improve the energy efficiency of all homes to EPC C by 2035
- Fix loop-holes that will allow landlords to continue to rent out the coldest properties
- Tighten standards to prevent the continued construction of high-carbon new homes
- Provide new incentives to encourage householders to make improvements to their homes
- Double annual funding in England to enable the fuel poverty eradication target to be met
Doing so would:
- Save equivalent emissions of taking 1.7 million cars off roads
- Wipe over half a billion pounds from domestic energy bills each year
- That's £25 per household, and as much as £165 for the homes where improvements are made
- Double the rate at which households are lifted out of fuel-poverty
- Make homes warmer and healthier
The Clean Growth Plan should be out any day now - so now is the time to make your voice heard! Click here to tell your MP you want a plan that will slash CO2 emissions now by cutting energy waste in our homes.