The beginning of the end for gas boilers?

In an article published in today’s Guardian (21st February), the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is proposing an end to gas in new homes, saying that government need to prepare homes for a change in climate and that there is an urgent need to address the performance gap between designed and as built performance of homes.

No more gas - The CCC proposes that from 2025, which is just six years away, no new homes should be connected to the gas grid. Instead homes should “super-efficient” and use low-carbon energy instead.

Prepare for a warmer climate - The committee is calling on the government to ensure all homes are adapted to cope with a future of more extreme weather. 

Close the performance gap – The CCC believe that the way new homes are built and existing properties are “retrofitted” with energy efficiency measures, often fall short of stated design standards, deceiving householders and inflicting costs on the future, the committee said. By closing the “performance gap” between design standards and what is achieved could save those in new homes between £70 and £260 a year on their energy bills, the report said. 

Baroness Brown, the chair of the CCC’s adaptation subcommittee, said: “There are almost 30 million homes in the UK, and the depressing fact is most of them are not in a condition to keep us comfortable and productive and well as the climate changes.

“They are a huge part of the problem – energy use in our homes is around a fifth of greenhouse gases, and the biggest part of those emissions is from burning gas for heating and hot water.

“We shouldn’t be allowing 300,000 substandard homes that will need upgrading to be built, they should be built to the right standard now”.

Elmhurst generally welcome the report. It is of course important that carbon emissions are reduced, and society moves away from high carbon fuels, however many households are still in fuel poverty and we need to ensure that the low carbon energy is cheap enough so as not to push more families into fuel poverty.

What we totally agree with, and is reflected in our 2019 manifesto, is that regulations needs to continue to demand higher performance buildings and that all new homes then need to be built to meet, or preferably exceed, those higher standards. We must move away from the current transition periods, that can go on for many years, and ensure that new homes meet the latest standards.

Elmhurst has also ways said that the cheapest energy is the energy that you do not use and therefore reducing demand, with good design and construction practices, must be the priority.

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Article Published: 20th February 2019

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