The world is faced with an energy dilemma
Heating buildings in the UK accounts for around 20% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. Improving the energy efficiency of our building stock so they require less energy to heat will play a significant role in our ability to meet climate change targets, as well as reducing bills and improving people’s quality of life.
In 2019, the UK Government passed legislation to set a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050 into law. The Climate Change Committee says building emissions will need to be reduced to near-zero to meet our emissions commitments by 2050 – using less fuel to heat the building stock will be a crucial competent to reducing building emissions.
Improving insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways of achieving this. The EU has calculated that proper insulation can reduce a building’s heating needs by up to 70%. This isn’t limited to the building envelope – the Carbon Trust estimates that insulating pipework and valves on hot water and heating systems could cut heat loss by up to 90%.
Energy efficiency will also play a vital role in as the UK rolls out low-carbon heat technologies. Energy efficiency reduces heat demand, making the transition to renewable energy even more affordable. It also enable buildings with low-carbon heat to serve as a flexible resource and to help low-carbon heating systems operate at higher performance (for example as heat pumps work at low temperatures and needs a well-insulated building to enable efficient operation).
Lower fuel bills
In addition, selecting the right insulation and installing it correctly is an investment that will help lower energy usage and utility bills. ROCKWOOL insulation is an extremely cost-effective means of improving energy efficiency as it is highly durable and long-lasting and requires no maintenance.
According to the Climate Change Committee, improved energy efficiency in buildings since 2004 now saves the typical dual fuel household over £500 per year.
In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, a fuel poor household is defined as one which needs to spend more than 10% of their income on fuel to maintain an adequate standard of warmth. According to the latest figures, fuel poverty affects 25% of households in Scotland, 12% of households in Wales and 22% of households in Northern Ireland.
In England, a fuel poor household is defined as living in a property with an energy efficiency rating of band D or below and when they spend the required amount to heat their home, they are left with a residual income below the official poverty line. According to the most recent government figures, fuel poverty affects 3.18 million households (13.4% of households in England).
Living in fuel poverty has serious consequences for people’s health. Cold and damp homes can exacerbate respiratory and circulatory problems, impact on mental health and are linked to 10,000 excess winter deaths each year. According to the BRE, the cost to the NHS of health conditions made worse by poor housing is estimated to be between £1.4 and £2.0 billion each year in England alone.
Improving energy efficiency therefore is an opportunity to reduce risks to health and wellbeing and alleviate pressure on the NHS.
ROCKWOOL insulation is designed to help solve these problems by making buildings more thermally efficient. Our insulation solutions range from products designed for new-build housing, public and private buildings, as well as for retrofit purposes in domestic and commercial settings.