The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is warning that the UK homes are unfit for the challenges of climate change, including flooding and water scarcity and says the UK’s legally-binding climate change targets will not be met without the near-complete elimination of greenhouse gas emissions from UK buildings.
In a new report ‘UK housing: Fit for the future?’ the CCC says that emissions reductions from the UK’s 29 million homes have stalled, while energy use in homes – which accounts for 14% of total UK emissions – increased between 2016 and 2017.
Recommended Actions for Government
The committee recommends that the government takes action in five areas NOW to improve the UK’s housing stock and help achieve long-term emissions reduction targets. This includes:
1 Enforcing standards, ensuring compliance with those standards and closing the ‘performance gap’
2 Delivering a step-change in construction skills
3 Retrofitting existing homes so they are low-carbon, energy efficient and resilient to a changing climate
4 Ensuring new homes are low-carbon, ultra energy efficient and climate resilient, with sustainable transport options
5 Addressing urgent funding needs.
Recommended Actions for Householders
The report identifies a number of practical, easy and cheap actions that householders can take now to adapt their homes, and reduce their bills and carbon emissions:
Improve home energy, heating and water usage and efficiency
- Install low-energy lighting, hot water tank insulation, low-flow shower heads and draught-proofing
- Turn off the lights/other electricals when not being used
- Turn taps off when brushing teeth, have a shorter shower, check pipes for leaks and water gardens only as needed
- Install water and smart energy metres to manage water and energy use and help identify water leaks
Is the heating system working correctly?
- Check your boiler annually and ensure your heating system is operating at no more than 55 ̊C
- Install heating controls like timers and room thermostats
- Turn your thermostat temperature down to 19 ̊C
Reduce the risk of overheating in summer
- Opt for thick curtains or blinds (close them during the day), plant trees to provide shade and open windows at night
- Use fans for bedrooms and living spaces (as long as temperatures are below 36 ̊C)
- If you’re in a flood risk area sign up to flood warnings and devise your own household plan to prepare for possible floods.
Click here to read the full report.