The low-carbon revolution starts at home


Since the writing of my Master’s thesis, I am aware that huge savings of CO2 emissions could be achieved by insulating our homes and shifting toward energy-efficient appliances.

This feeling is strongly reinforced by the views of the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) which is part of the renowned Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

In its latest publication, Home Truths, the ECI states that UK can decrease by 80 percent the CO2 emissions of its housing sector by using various means.

The residential sector in the UK is behind 27 percent of the emissions of the country, and to the Clinton Foundation is responsible of a third of greenhouse gases. This foundation is thus willing to decrease the pollutions of houses worldwide. (see this previous article)

According to the executive summary of the publication :

Home Truths offers a way forward. It reveals that not only is an 80 per cent cut in household emissions achievable, but it can be done in an equitable and fair way that wipes out fuel poverty and enables every UK citizen to live in a warm, comfortable home. Our quality of life will be enhanced. Everyone stands to gain.

In the future the housing sector might look like this :

Every household has excellent insulation. Every household has a solar installation. The individual is warmer, has more hot water and can even have more appliances than now. No household spends more than 10 per cent of its income on energy.

Such homes might have many advantages :

Carbon emissions are cut, national energy security is increased; homes provide a healthier environment; there are significantly increased employment and business opportunities. Fuel poverty has disappeared.

But to achieve such results, huge changes will have to take place as the ECI states that “ (t)hese cuts are achievable but will require a quantum leap in commitment from Government and a radical new approach.”

Here are some of the required changes :

Market transformation is the strategic approach recommended. It combines tough minimum energy standards for homes, lighting and appliances; regulation of utilities; generous financial support through grants, funding and the reform of energy tariffs; and much greater information for the consumer.

Market transformation sets a long-term policy framework and recognises that combinations of policies are the most effective. There are more than 40 individual policy recommendations.

To learn out more, you can read their complete publication or you can have a look at the articles I wrote on housing.

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