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Building green homes

Residential homes are one of the top 4 emitters of greenhouse gases in the UK and changes in this area are essential if we are to meet our own government’s target of making the UK a net-zero emitter of greenhouse gases by 2050.  The Committee on Climate Change says decarbonising and adapting the UK’s housing stock is critical to meeting these targets. There are many quick and easy things you can do at home that will have a big impact on pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time are likely to save you money!!

If you are renovating your home then it’s a great time to look at those bigger changes like coming off the gas grid and having a renewable energy source, especially if there are government incentives to do this – for inspiration see Grand Designs and Super Homes websites  and the government information on Green Home Grants etc.

Many of us aren’t in the position to significantly renovate at the moment, but a number of the less “exciting” things that we can all do will also have a big impact, for example changing to a green energy supplier, making sure our homes are well insulated; turning off lights; not leaving gadgets on standby, using a shower timer to save hot water or installing rain water butts etc.

There is excellent advice on the Energy Savings Trust and the One Home websites as well as your energy and water suppliers who will often provide a free advisory visit that will help highlight simple and impactful changes. There are also organisations like SELCE who will provide information and support on energy efficiency without charge to those dealing with fuel poverty and for a small fee for others in the community. From time to time, SELCE provide free access to training for energy efficient homes.

Of course, one of the most effective (and easiest!) things you can do, is to change to a green energy supplier if you haven’t already. The Hubbub and Martin Lewis MoneySavingExpert websites are amongst a number of great online resources available to help you decide which supplier is best for you.

Finally, there is the on-going value in  writing to ask our politicians to make sure the UK’s legislation, guidelines and government incentives continue to encourage and support greener homes.  We need that part of the puzzle to help households make the changes needed so we can meet our targets and obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Good luck and have fun!

Illustrated drawing of a house with solar panel on rood+f and bicycle parked by the yellow front door.
Image by Sophie Nightingale

Lots of information about government’s new Green Homes Grant scheme which launched at the end of September 2020.

Grant can help towards primary measures (eg insulation and low-carbon heating systems) and secondary measures (eg windows and doors and heating controls). Vouchers are available from the end of September 2020.

A network of approx 200 households who have achieved at least 60% reduction in fossil fuel use by refurbishing older homes.

Be inspired by what can be achieved. Arrange to visit a super-home.

Register your interest for 2021 to look at ideas for green homes in future.

Grand designs exhibition 2021 – lots of inspiration and ideas for “green homes”

Inspiration and practical action. How to reduce water, energy and bills. Tips for sustainable homes and many other ideas.

It is the Government website so the official advice is here (refers you to the Simple Energy Advice website).

Good starting place for anything to do with home insulation, energy and transport with links to other useful web-sites for further information. Including Green Homes Grants scheme.