Last week Ron Nussey’s story on the decarbonisation of housing highlighted what might be the weak spot in the UK’s race for net-zero emissions.
Decarbonising home heating is both one of the thorniest, but also least discussed challenges in reaching net zero. According to the Energy Saving Trust, it makes up almost twice the average UK household CO2 emissions of our diet and agriculture. In total, home heating and cooking are responsible for about 15 per cent of total emissions.
Now his fears about the size of the task the government faces in decarbonising homes which includes switching to clean fuels, and insulating buildings has been confirmed by the government’s environmental audit committee
It has suggested that net-zero emissions goal would be impossible to achieve unless urgent action was taken to improve the energy efficiency of homes. MPs have added there is a “colossal” challenge at a cost that the government has “significantly underestimated”,
It adds that the government was “failing to grasp” the extent of the work that must be done to eliminate pollution from the use of energy in UK homes.
The report notes that while the government has made strides in addressing carbon emissions in many sectors, it seems to have a blindspot in energy for homes.
More positively the reports, which was covered in detail by the FT, says that addressing the issue would generate a huge range of benefits from lower bills for consumers to the creation of thousands of jobs.
The EAC exhorted the government to publish its heat and buildings strategy and “set out an enduring plan for at least the next decade to give industry and tradespeople time to upskill”.
It also recommended that the value-added tax payable on the labour element of retrofits and on energy-saving materials be cut to five percent. Also that ministers should also work with the financial sector to develop products such as green mortgages and low-interest loans to help people make their homes more energy-efficient.