The world needs to rapidly move to a zero carbon future. We take a look at the big ways you and your family can dramatically cut your emissions. You could discover it’s easier than you thought.
The majority of our household emissions come from heat and transportation, so these are the two most important areas to address. New technologies like heat pumps and electric cars can make a huge difference, provided they’re powered by zero carbon electricity.
Switching to electric heating and an electric car, powered along with the rest of your home with green zero carbon electricity from your own bit of a wind farm, could reduce your carbon footprint by a whopping 67%.
Electricity constitutes around 9% of your emissions. To ensure your electricity is zero carbon you can buy a bit of a wind farm with Ripple. It couldn’t be easier – we create your ownership plan and you buy as much of the wind farm as you want. We then manage everything from there, right through to getting the savings applied to your electricity bill. You then get the low cost, zero carbon electricity the wind farm generates, supplied to your home, via the grid for 25 years. That’s step one of the net-zero plan ticked off.
Next is transport, which contributes 27% of household emissions. The easiest, cheapest and most sustainable switch to make is to walk, cycle or use public transport as much as possible.
If you’re not ready to ditch your car, then you can switch to an electric one. They are cheaper to run, lovely to drive and common quibbles about availability of charge points are rapidly fading away as the network of charging stations expands. Sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030. By 2025 half of all new cars on the road could be electric.
It’s really important to ensure your electric car is powered by clean electricity to really reduce its emissions. We can help you own a bit of a wind farm to power your electric car, for genuinely zero-emission travel. Additionally, charging at night, when electricity demand is low and electricity is cheap, can dramatically cut its running cost and can help balance the grid. It’s a win-win.
Heat is the really big one – it’s the largest contributor of household emissions. While the carbon intensity of electricity has steadily decreased over the years due to increasing renewables, heat hasn’t. We still primarily heat our homes with gas and oil.
First, we need to improve the building fabric of our homes. The UK has amongst the least energy efficient buildings in Europe. The government has pledged £1bn to insulate homes and public buildings. Check out the Green Homes Grant to see if you are eligible for help on improvements to be made to your home.
Reducing heat demand will get us so far, but to achieve net-zero we also need to look at how our homes are heated. Electric heating has had a bad name in the past, but new and improved technologies such as air source and ground source heat pumps, smart control systems and heat batteries have changed all that. Heat pumps and heat batteries use electricity. Powering them with zero carbon electricity from your own wind farm will deliver genuinely zero carbon heating, massively reducing your household emissions.
There’s some scope for hydrogen heating, but it’s likely to be limited, only in places with a hydrogen grid.
Diet makes up a significant portion of our household emissions. Reducing your meat and dairy intake is the most effective way to reduce food based emissions. There are, however, some really exciting developments emerging for lab grown meat. Who knows, in future maybe your steak will come from a test tube not a cow!
Next up is aviation – in this country we have grown accustomed to jumping on a plane to far flung destinations. However, if 2020 has taught us one thing it is the importance of appreciating our own home, and the UK has some pretty amazing places that are easily accessible by car or train. If you still have the itch to go abroad, why not make the journey part of the adventure and see how far you can get by train?
Electrify your life and power it with your own wind farm
This is a very quick overview of our household emissions and just a few of the ideas you can use to achieve net-zero emissions. The cornerstone of this plan is to electrify your heating and transport and power them, along with the rest of your home, with 100% clean, renewable electricity. This delivers huge reductions that are locked in for the long term. Committing to not fly or turning vegan can be unwound in future but actions like owning a bit of wind farm bakes net-zero into your lifestyle for the long term.
Got any more ideas of becoming net-zero? We’d love to hear them! Comment below.
The BIG ways to bake net-zero into your life. A heat pump and electric car, powered by your own bit of a wind farm could reduce your household’s emissions by a whopping 67%. Discover more in our blog.Tweet
Data on household emissions come from the Energy Systems Catapult ‘Living Carbon Free‘ report, 2019.