Guide written by:
Tom. Content Writer, Nottingham
Making housing more energy efficient reduces energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. In the UK, residential buildings alone account for 20.8% of CO2 emissions, therefore highlighting the need to drastically improve this area if we are to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
There are 5 types of renovation work that can be done to buildings in order to improve their energy performance:
By focussing on these important pillars of home renovation, 4 main advantages can be gained over the medium to long term:
Energy efficiency is on everyone's lips these days; it has become a vital topic in order to save energy and to reduce our carbon footprint. Out of the 28 million homes in the UK, only 8 million have the highest energy efficiency standards at present. In addition, housing represents 35% of the energy we consume in the UK, emitting 20.8% of carbon dioxide emissions.
Faced with this environmental challenge, where global average temperature increases are at 1.1°C compared to the pre-industrial era, and with an average sea level rise of 9 cm, 115 countries have aligned with each other to change the production, distribution and consumption of energy as part of the Energy Transition Index. The aim is to reduce our global carbon footprint and, more broadly, the impact of human activity on the environment.
Home energy efficiency refers to all building renovation work aimed at reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It focuses on the main energy-consuming areas of buildings, such as loft and wall insulation, windows and installing energy efficient heating and water systems.
More generally, home energy efficiency is the use of renewable energy sources in order to reduce fossil fuel consumption and lessen our carbon footprint.
Besides the environmental necessity of making energy efficient improvements to the home, for households there are 4 concrete advantages:
Making our homes more energy efficient is one of a number of factors that forms part of the energy transition.
In real terms, the energy transition means:
The energy transition refers to all the changes in the system of production, distribution and consumption of energy on a global scale.
The Climate Change Act is part of the UK's approach to tackling climate change. It aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100% of 1990 levels to achieve net zero by 2050. In 2021, the UK’s net zero strategy report was published setting out the government's objectives, which can be summarised in 6 main points:
Buildings play a significant role in ensuring that we can reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Housing represents:
Carrying out renovation work to make your home more energy efficient has a tangible impact on the climate and your energy bills, while making your home more comfortable to live in.
Only 8 million homes in the UK have the highest energy efficiency standards, while millions of households struggle to pay their energy bills.
Energy Performance Certificates give an indication of how energy-efficient a building is and are required whenever you decide to sell, rent or build a property in the UK.
An EPC gives your home a rating from A to G, A being the most energy-efficient, G being the least. This will give you a clear idea of how expensive it is to heat and light your home at present and how you could make improvements to increase its EPC rating, which should provide you with cost savings in the long term.
There are 5 main projects which help to make buildings more energy efficient. All of them are necessary, but not all have the same impact on the environment, comfort and energy consumption.
Insulation is a key measure in order to make our homes more energy efficient. This includes attic, loft, wall and underfloor insulation. Heat loss associated with the roof is around 25% to 30%, 20% to 25% for the outer walls and 7% to 10% for the floors.
Windows, French doors and sliding patio doors can be renovated to be as energy-efficient as possible. Heat loss from windows and doors is estimated to be around 10% to 15%.
Water heating accounts for approximately 20% of a home's total energy use. There are several energy-efficient options available from solar water heaters, thermodynamic water heaters and biomass systems.
Along with insulation, an effective heating system is essential for making your home more energy efficient. Heating accounts for about 50% of the total energy consumed by households in the UK, so the transition to heat pumps and biomass heating systems is necessary.
Ventilation can play an important complementary role alongside other measures. In addition to eliminating excess humidity in the home, a well-designed ventilation system will remove stale indoor air which can represent up to 25% of heat loss. Mechanical Extract Ventilation (MEV) and Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery systems can therefore play an important role in making the home more energy efficient.
Home energy efficiency standards and certifications are essential for guaranteeing quality and performance for products, professionals and buildings. These can be administered by public or private bodies.
Energy performance certificates are an example of a certification which ascertains the energy efficiency of a property.
There are a number of government grants available in the UK to improve the energy efficiency of your home, depending on your financial status.
Guide written by:
Tom. Content Writer, Nottingham, 5 guides
Passionate about all things DIY and home improvement.