A 2019 survey found that 17% of UK greenhouse gas emissions come from simply heating our homes and buildings with fossil fuels – oil and gas. Our old, traditional houses tend to be energy-leaky, so that we pay for heat which simply flows out through our walls, doors and chimneys! The government hasn’t yet set improved insulation standards since the obligations to insulate new builds were reduced by the Cameron government in 2002. Nor have they announced a cut off date for putting new gas boilers into existing homes, but it will do this soon. From 2025 no new builds will be connected to the gas grid as we desperately need to cut these emissions.
So that homeowners can become aware and start planning now, we need to talk and learn from each other ways in which we can insulate up, power down and green up our homes. People who have worked on their own homes or rental properties can help by talking about what they did and how, and the results they experience. This can be at exhibitions, or on-line – or through Eco-House trails. A couple of great examples are Transition Lewes and Transition Worthing. In 2020 Transition Worthing showcased 12 homes which had eco heating projects, with a series of talks, visits and fringe events. Let’s hope they do it again in 2022, because it’s an exciting way of making change happen in communities; we are hoping that Transition Horsham can run a similar event.
We need to reduce total energy use if we want to save money. A good place to start is the Energy Saving Trust. Electricity from heat source pumps is the main alternative now, and hydrogen may develop as an option, but both are currently more expensive than gas.
Homeowners and landlords need a plan, firstly to make a home less leaky – through draughtproofing, insulation and/or better doors and windows, and then to install an efficient new system before the gas boiler fails! You can see some options to retrofit your home on our website. Some are easy, like better loft insulation and plugging draughts. Others, such as heat source pumps, need planning. We can now choose renewable energy instead of fossil fuels – and often save money. Our energy cost comparison and switching site can help. bigcleanswitch.org/sussexgreen/
More good news is that there will be more than 3000 skilled job opportunities in West Sussex as we make these changes.
If you have a home where you’ve made changes to move away from fossil fuels, Transition Horsham’s Alison Marshall () would like to hear from you with a view to writing up a case study, arranging Zoom meetings, or participating in an eco-home trail.