Low carbon heating key to improving living standards

People’s inability to adequately heat their homes could mean it is harder than previously thought to cut UK carbon emissions, according to research.

On 12 August, the University of Strathclyde published a study, setting out how to meet the 2050 net zero target, greenhouse gas emissions from heating homes – accounting for 14% of all emissions – will have to be reduced to almost zero with current technologies replaced by low carbon options. While these technologies are expensive to install but cheaper to run, the study found when fuel poor homes are given access to lower cost heating in this manner, their energy consumptions is likely to increase in response, potentially doubling.

This means that reducing carbon emissions in residential heating is likely to be more expensive to achieve than had previously been thought for certain households.

Elsewhere, it found that for similar dwelling characteristics, financially challenge households use far less energy to heat their homes. The end-use heat demand of households with electric storage heaters was found to be half as much as those with natural gas heating. This, it said, suggested lower income households depending on conventional electric heating were under heating their homes, leading to linked health problems. This means a drive towards low carbon heating could also improving the living standards of these homes.

University of Strathclyde