Energy use in buildings and industry accounted for 59% of UK energy use and 54% of emissions in 2017. High standards for new buildings and adding energy improvement measures (retrofit) to all existing buildings can reduce energy demand for heating by around 50%, making it a hugely important area.
A comfortably warm, dry building with good indoor air quality is important for health. Especially for the youngest and oldest of us.
Unfortunately, trying to keep most of our homes comfortably warm creates 10% of the country’s emissions. However, buildings as a whole account for 40%. Two connected things are going on here. First, buildings constantly leak heat to the outside when it’s cold, so are always ‘hungry’ for heat. Second, most forms of heating are not yet efficient in terms of emissions.
So ideally we need to fix the building so we can be comfortable with less heating. For instance, get the existing heating to work as efficiently as it can. Then switch that heating to a more efficient form. One which produces lower emissions, at some stage when we can afford it.
We also need to look at our appliances and gadgets that use electricity. Find out how that electricity is being generated and think about where / when we are using it – and furthermore whether it’s really needed.
‘Retro-fitting’ – the adding of energy efficiency measures to our existing buildings – can be a complex area. The eco-renovation information provided by the Centre for Alternative Technology is a great source of information and advice.
The UK Government has recently launched “Green Deal” pages on the Gov.uk website. It shows how you can make energy saving improvements to your home and find the best way to pay for them.