This marks the first in a series of four insightful, evidence-based articles focused on steps to achieving Net Zero for the UK property sector.
As a world-leading geospatial technology company and creator of the country’s most advanced dataset on residential carbon emissions, we at Kamma have charted the legislative journey to Net Zero in 2050 by identifying a 4-step framework:
Describing and dissecting the path to Property Zero in four steps does more than illuminate it. It also provides a framework through which to assess government policy and the impact on industry, as well as advising and incentivising businesses and individuals to make environmentally informed decisions.
More importantly, it shows that it’s possible, through both public and private sector financing channelled at pace and scale towards a true green economy.
Download our full report or view an engaging, interactive version here: https://www.propertyzero.io/
Efficient devices can play a crucial role on the path to meet the government’s commitment to Net Zero if widely adopted. Energy-efficient devices, such as appliances and light bulbs, reduce the overall demand for electricity throughout the country. This alleviates pressure on the grid during periods of peak usage, contributing to the early decommissioning of fossil fuel and coal power plants. Together, these benefits can reduce emissions while saving people money on their electricity bills.
Implementing simple home improvements, such as low energy lighting, costs between £15 and £400 per modification, and could collectively reduce the national fuel bill by up to £900 million and save the planet 3.1 million tonnes of emissions every single year. Despite these properties needing to improve the most, close to 11 million properties are yet to switch some or all of their lighting to energy-efficient light bulbs.
The South West leads the way with 57% of homes already using energy-efficient light bulbs and 5% installing solar panels, the North West, however, lags behind with only 51% of homes using energy-efficient light bulbs. This shows that mass adoption is possible but is potentially being hindered by socioeconomic factors.
Lighting accounts for around 15% of average household electricity consumption in the UK.
While upgrading light bulbs has less of an impact on the overall emissions of a house compared to other upgrades, such as solar panels, it’s a low cost, low effort measure homeowners can take to improve their EPC rating. Collectively, widespread adoption of energy-efficient lighting can have a significant impact on the reduction of emissions from the housing sector.
The following table illustrates the energy and cost savings if all or most of the lightbulbs in a household are upgraded:
|Regular light bulbs||Energy efficient light bulbs: Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs)|
|Life length||750-1,000 hours||6,000-15,000 hours|
|Electricity conversion||Around 5% of the electricity they use converts into visible light||Around 20% of the electricity they use converts into visible light|
|Energy bill savings||NA||£30 per year (per house)|
|Average CO2 emissions savings (annual)||NA||0.12 tonnes (per house)|
The UK has been making strides in this department to encourage the country-wide transition to energy-efficient light bulbs. They began phasing out higher-energy halogen light bulbs in 2018 (under EU wide rules) and banned sales of such light bulbs in September 2021. Additionally, there is legislation being brought forward in January 2022 that will remove fluorescent lights from shelves from September 2023. However, more could be done to encourage people to upgrade their devices.
Kamma’s first step focuses on efficient devices and their role in helping us achieve Property Zero, and while our data primarily covers light bulbs, it does so because they are the most appropriate and illustrative example. Because this first step is so simple and straightforward, it is often overlooked. This is clear from the number of business-focused regulations in the legislative pipeline. Alternatively, the UK government may just see a greater role for industry in the fight against climate change – citizens taking sensible steps is not mentioned in government documentation.
The Climate Change Committee talks specifically about the need for behavioural change in order to deliver Net Zero targets, and there are attempts being made to address this. For example, phasing out light bulbs and adding EPC ratings to light bulb packaging. However, more needs to be done to ensure energy-efficient devices have a significant impact. The benefits of educating citizens and attempting to nudge behaviours in the right direction is currently being overlooked.
Using energy-efficient devices could collectively reduce emissions by 3.1 million tonnes annually. That is, of course, if they are adopted on a wide enough scale. So, how do we get there?
Education and awareness campaigns. We know that the government is currently making concerted efforts to try and change behaviours and empower citizens to embrace energy-efficient devices. But, to achieve this first step and ultimately Property Zero by 2050, more of an emphasis needs to be placed on making energy-efficient alternatives cheaper and widely available.
An excellent example of a proactive government campaign comes from The Carbon Trust. A partnership set up to offer grants For LED Lighting of up to £5,000 for small and medium-sized UK businesses that could benefit from financial support when buying and installing energy-efficient equipment.
An attempt needs to be made to change habits as well as devices. To invoke a cooperative spirit and make people realise the importance of taking a small step can have a significant collective impact.
One of the reasons behind the creation of Kamma’s 4-step pathway to Property Zero was to assess government policy and the efficacy of their supposed strategy. On the path to Net Zero, energy-efficient devices can play a pivotal role, but currently, the government is not placing enough importance on mobilising homeowners to upgrade devices.
With our interactive website, we also hoped to create an easily consumed narrative to engage and mobilise the public to drive their homes toward Net Zero. Collectively, we can all be a part of this journey, and by raising the level of awareness and debate, we ensure a swifter and more efficient path to carbon neutrality for UK homes.
Contact us now to find out more about how Kamma can support your business’ drive to Property Zero.
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