UK Insulation Needs Ramping Up
Various MPs have called on the government to increase the speed in which homes across the UK are being fitted with insulation. Last summer, the Environmental Audit Committee believes that an opportunity was missed to insulate more homes than was achieved. With the environment on everyone’s mind as well nowadays, they reported that increasing insulation efforts will help us transition away from fossil fuels more quickly, especially if we focus on tidal power and onshore wind turbines.
According to the BBC, the UK sees 78% of its energy needs met through fossil fuels. Across Europe, UK households are amongst the worst insulated. The average heat lost after five hours in 2020 was the below in the following countries:
Norway - 0.9°C
Germany - 1°C
Sweden - 1.2°C
Denmark - 1.2°C
Austria - 1.2°C
Italy - 1.5°C
Spain - 2.2°C
Netherlands - 2.4°C
France - 2.5°C
Belgium - 2.9°C
UK - 3°C
In 2012, 2.3 million UK households improved their energy efficiency with government support. Since then-Prime Minister David Cameron cut the support and subsidies, fewer than 100,000 installations took place in 2021. MPs have now called on the government to increase the funds once more and to achieve improvements in 2.5 million homes per year by 2030. Recent statistics show that the government has set aside £6.6 billion to energy efficiency improvements, with a further £6 billion coming in 2028, but this is nowhere near the levels it needs to be.
The committee has described the need for bold action immediately. In order to transition away from fossil fuels and to present to the world stage that the UK is being a thought-leader in how it’s tackling climate issues, drastic steps need to be taken. New oil and gas licensing should have a clear cut off date for the North Sea. As a nation, the UK can project to other countries that it is serious about reaching net zero and to reduce domestic household bills.
These issues have been highlighted by the UK’s recent decision to open up its first new coal mine in 30 years and green-lighting new oil and gas exploration projects. Against the general consensus of the UN and climate scientists alike, these actions are argued to do nothing to keep global temperature rises below 1.5°C.
In the last 10 years alone, the UK has expanded in clean energy. Renewables now account for around 40% of domestic electricity generation, but more still needs to be done. Renewable energy is 9 times cheaper than gas, and while offshore wind has been a massive contributor to this, onshore wind needs to keep up the pace. The committee has called for a rapid turnaround of onshore wind and to look into ways to utilise tidal energy. Providing the restrictions and bans are eased, this will have a big impact on the UK, both in terms of more green energy and jobs and in the reduction in fossil fuels. Proper insulation, however, is the way in which the UK can reduce its energy bills the most.