Energy and Carbon
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UK homes are both a significant consumer of energy, consuming approximately 27% of the UK's total energy demand (including transport) and emitter of carbon with residential sources accounting for 14% of the UK's CO2e emissions per year.
Through the Climate Change Act, UK Government has committed the UK to an ambitious 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 based on 1990 levels. The UK has adopted a long-term legal framework for reducing emissions through a system of "five-year" carbon budgets, providing a clear pathway towards this 2050 target. The homes sector has an important part to play in realising these targets.
Energy bills for consumers are also rising, driving a need for homes to become more efficient. These issues are key drivers for reducing both the consumption of resources and carbon emissions in the residential sector.
Building regulations, energy performance certificates (EPCs) and display energy certificates (DECs) are vital components in reducing emissions and raising awareness of performance across the business and public sectors.
Carbon emissions from day to day use are however only part of the story. Embodied carbon must also be considered - the carbon released during mineral extraction, manufacture, transport and installation in a home. For example, the embodied carbon of a steel beam would consider the production of the steel and transport to site.
The main difference between embodied carbon and carbon footprinting is that the term carbon footprint can also be used to discuss operational carbon requirements, for example the heating and lighting of a home.
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