In response to climate science, the UK and a number of countries have made commitments to move to a net zero emissions economy. The science shows that in order to halt climate change, carbon emissions have to stop! Reducing them is simply not sufficient.
What is decarbonisation?
As the name suggests, decarbonisation refers to reducing the amount of carbon, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2) sent into the atmosphere. The ultimate aim being eliminating it in our modern lives.
The sectors that will have the most impact on decarbonisation are transport, power and industry. However, all sectors are expected to increasingly electrify, especially with the increased uptake of electric vehicles. Also renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, are becoming cheaper and more efficient.
So with the world now moving towards less carbon intensive systems, it makes sense from a financial and environmental point of view. The energy sector will now play a large roll in decarbonisation as the world moves towards electrification.
What is the UK doing to decarbonise homes?
In 2025 the Future Homes Standard will be introduced and it will set energy efficient standards for new homes and extenders. It will ensure that new homes are future proofed with low carbon heating systems and high levels of efficiency and the new homes will produce 75-80% less carbon emissions than homes built under current regulations.
Homeowners will only be affected if they are planning on building an extension or making thermal upgrades. Existing homes will also be subject to higher standards with a “significant improvement” on the standard for extensions, making homes warmer and reducing bills. Replacements and repairs will also have to be more energy efficient. This will include the replacement of windows and building services such as heat pumps, cooling systems, or fixed lighting.
A “fabric first” approach to building involves maximising the performance of the components and materials that make up the building fabric itself. This can help improve the energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Buildings that are designed and constructed using this approach aim to minimise the need for energy consumption through methods such as:
- Promotes heat retention
- Reduces heat loss
- Consider air leakage through gaps/cracks in the building envelope
- Structural insulated panels (SIP) or insulated concrete form (ICF) generally provide great air-tightness
- Check the frames on windows and doors
- Thermal bridging occurs in areas with higher thermal conductivity, allowing an easier path for heat loss e.g. where the floor and walls meet
- Consider your insulation system to reduce thermal bridging
- Think about build orientation
- Choose window positions carefully
- Consider triple glazed windows for further heat retention
- Reduces condensation and mould
- Consider a low-level air inlet for fresh air, and a high-level vent to remove stale air
- Think about amount of wind in the location
Adding renewable energy sources for your home electricity and heating is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, make your home more sustainable, and potentially lower your energy costs. The best ways to power your home with renewable energy are:
Why not use the sun to generate electricity for your home through solar panels which are installed on your roof? The panels take the sun’s rays and convert it into electricity that you can use to warm your home and power devices. The power generated during daylight hours can be stored in batteries so you still use electricity after the sun goes down. Any excess power you don’t use can be sold to the national grid. Generating your own clean electricity with solar panels gives you the power to improve your home’s sustainability, one of the main advantages of solar energy. They also help you reduce your reliance on the grid and cut your electricity bills.
An easy and quick way to make your home more sustainable and greener is to choose an energy supplier that is backed by 100% renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass.
Smaller wind turbines are available for homes they can be installed on the building directly or as a free standing pole. They generate electricity by the wind turning the blades, which drives the internal turbine and creates power. According to the Energy Saving Trust a 6KW pole-mounted turbine could save you around £250 a year on your electric bills and earn you £440 a year in SEG payments.
If you already have or are thinking of adding solar panels to your home, then investing in a battery storage system will allow you to power your home day or night. With standalone Solar PV systems, if you don’t use the power, you lose it. Your system has no way to hold or store the power, and it’s likely you will subsequently, purchase back the power your system exported to the grid earlier in the day when the sun was shining. With a battery, you can still use your “free”, generated power as you normally would. The battery system only stores the excess you don’t use. Rather than sending it back to the grid, you store it for use later in the day or night, when you actually need it. Lower bills, less grid dependency and more control.
What Jigsaw are doing to help people decarbonise their homes
Here at Jigsaw we are committed to finding the most efficient and environmentally friendly products. This is why we manufacture our infrared heating panels here in the UK, we want to provide high quality heating with a low environmental impact. Our infrared heating panels can be combined with solar and battery making them even more efficient.
Our control systems we use with our infrared heating systems are developed by Genius Hub. The control system allows many different permutations for the installation of our UK manufactured panels. The equipment can be completely hidden from the room and controlled by the app. Or, it can be controlled by a thermostat on the wall. The real benefit that makes the infrared heating system “sing” is the ability of the room to be monitored for motion. Simply put, if there is no one in the room and no motion, why heat it? The Genius room sensor can measure heat and motion. The system can be set to a fall back temperature of 15º/16º and then boosted to 19º/20º when there is someone present in the room. On initial tests this has shown savings of 20% on the heating bills in a domestic environment. A recent study at the Belfry Hotel, Birmingham showed that this figure was 60% in a commercial setting. The key combination with a infrared heating panel means that the panels can respond in minutes, warming the occupant first. The room air temperature can then be achieved making the space feel comfortable very quickly.
We even have a more efficient way to heat your water. With the Mixergy tank, it is a premium stainless steel cylinder designed to optimise energy consumption, improve utilisation or renewable energies and enable intelligent control over water usage. The cylinders, which can be configured as open-vented or pressurised , can heat with all conventional and renewable heat sources. Internet connectivity means the Mixergy tank is primed for users to benefit from dynamic Time of Use tariffs.
Matt Billington, MD of Jigsaw Infrared, notes that “there are a lot of changes coming to the UK over the next few years relating to our homes. This will be done with electric heating, in our case, Infrared. This will be supported by renewable sources such as solar, wind and battery. Developers and renovators are already planning to provide alternatives to gas on their buildings from 2023. Prior to the gas ban in 2025. It is important that if we are to reach Net Zero all of us must make significant changes to the way we heat our homes and our hot water. Jigsaw have solutions for gas now. Let’s make the changes now.”