One in four homes is ‘hard to decarbonise’ — without help, their residents could be stuck in fuel poverty

Millions of people are facing rising electricity bills this winter. However, according to our research, at least 20% of UK households will continue to use large amounts of energy. We have discovered that existing energy effective method such as improving indoor insulation and installing an air source heat pump is not enough to get these homes out of the way of the lowest energy efficiency criteria.

These attributes are called house difficult to decarbonize and includes a range of unique residential buildings such as high-rises, homes with limited space, or homes with heritage status. an estimate one of four houses worldwide are classified as difficult to decarbonise, accounting for 25% of the total direct residential emissions.

But home is fourth largest source of carbon emissions in the world. Failing to find sensible ways to improve energy the performance of the least efficient homes would undermine the UK’s ability to meet carbon reduction targets while trapping vulnerable households in poor fuel.

House is not energy efficient

Energy Efficiency Certificate indicates the energy efficiency of buildings in the United Kingdom. Buildings are rated according to their energy features, which include building materials, heating and insulation systems. Rank runs from A to G, where A is the most efficient and cheapest to run.

The UK’s housing supply has an average rating of D. But we found that between 60% and 80% of homes that are hard to decarbonise have an energy performance rating of F or G.

However, current decarbonization measures are often not suitable for these homes.

Air source heat pump, for example, cannot be installed in homes with limited outdoor space. The heat pump itself is small but needs to be placed somewhere outside with unobstructed airflow.

High-rise residential buildings can also be complicated and expensive to insulate.

Renovation of multi-story buildings requires expensive scaffolding. Share the offer can arise when landlords are forced to make changes that, through reduced utility bills, will only benefit the tenant. And the preferences of different stakeholders often compete with each other—lessors are more likely to prioritize avoiding paying renovation fees, freelance owners may prioritize upgrading their properties, and tenants will prioritize their cost savings. energy bill.

In the absence of appropriate decarbonization measures, people living in homes that are difficult to decarbonize will have to pay higher energy bills. Annual Fuel costs Linked to Grade F property is estimated to be at least £500 a year more on average than a Grade D property.

Stuck in fuel poverty

Vulnerable households, including those with low income and physical hardship and mental health problemsto be disproportionate representation in housing stock difficult to decarbonize. The status of these occupants will more serious by high energy costs and cold houses.

These people can pay the price by heating their homes safely and comfortably during the winter months. This so-called fuel poverty increases the likelihood of a decline in mental and physical health. According to the national fuel poverty alleviation charity NEA, 8,500 people died in the UK is due to a cold house in 2020.

UK homes are transitioning to low-carbon heat sources But this could limit future fossil fuel use for those occupying homes that are difficult to decarbonise and risk leaving households Already vulnerable families face escalating prices. Households have 90% extra payment average for gas, electricity and other fuels compared to last November.

Failure to find solutions for homes that are difficult to decarbonize will also leave occupants vulnerable. “trapped property”. This is where hard-to-decarbonise homes soon become obsolete and unattractive to buyers because they are cold and expensive to operate.

Achieving a zero-carbon future

Tackling homes that are difficult to decarbonize is a complex challenge. While it is widely accepted that all homes will need to be energy efficient by 2050, nothing has been done to help people living in homes that are hard to decarbonise.

But it is the people who own these assets that may hold the key to identifying possible solutions. These people know their homes best and can provide insight into how to live in energy ineffective house. Research has demonstrated people’s ability to adapt energy-saving technologies to the peculiarities of their living environment. houses in the past.

From 2005 to 2012, one research in Finland recorded 192 cases of user innovation or modification to heat pump or wood pellet burning system. Innovations include redesigning the controller or adding protective covers to the outdoor units and improving the efficiency, suitability or cost of the heating system. These users have fueled the growth of these regenerative technologies by modifying them to cater to change in their homes.

Taking a residents-led approach could reveal solutions that will enable the UK to meet climate targets and better protect the most vulnerable residents.

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