Climate change remains a huge global issue – and it’s one that the UK Government is planning on tackling. To do this, it’s important to focus on the energy used in our homes. With the heating of buildings creating as much as a fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions, it makes sense to look at how we consume energy on a daily basis.
But what does the transition to greener living look like? Is there a deadline for any changes to be made?
Where we are
In summer 2020, as part of a bid to reduce emissions, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the group that advises the government on emissions targets and reducing greenhouse gases, recommended phasing out gas boilers by 2035. Making this move will bring us closer to net zero, which is the balance between the number of emissions we make and the number of emissions we remove from the atmosphere.
Why the focus on gas boilers? Around 29 million homes in the UK are heated by this type of boiler. Swapping these out for greener alternatives, such as heat pumps and solar power, is likely to help move the dial towards net zero.
To help towards covering the cost of these changes, the government has introduced the Green Homes Grant. This is a voucher for homeowners who have an older property and covers two-thirds of energy efficient updates that are made and the maximum value of this is £5,000.
There are instances where if someone in the household receives certain benefits, they could be eligible for a voucher covering the full cost of transferring to greener energy. This covers any energy-efficient home improvements up to £10,000.
There are criteria that you must meet in order to be eligible for the Green Home Grant. If you’re in an older property and don’t meet this criteria or you’re planning ahead and want to get everything in place before the 2035 deadline, it’s worth budgeting now for any big changes you want to make. You might want to invest in solar panels, switch to wind energy or invest in smart heating systems. By planning now, you could already be helping to move towards reducing your carbon emissions.
But there are also simple updates that can be made in the meantime. Insulating lofts and floors can make a huge difference.
The difference with newbuilds
For newbuild properties, any built after 2025 will not have gas central heating. This is a decision that predates the CCC’s report, indicating that energy efficiency has been moving further up the government’s agenda in recent years.
We have a timetable in place to get everything ready. As we move towards making our homes more energy efficient, it’s worth using this time to plan out what we need to do to do away with gas-powered living.