Back to: In the home agenda
Slides: Jenny Hill - in the home.pptx
Kaela: Okay, so now I'm going to introduce the first of our speakers and invite Jenny up.
Jenny Hill: Hello everyone. So, this is a topic which is very close to my heart. I have been thinking about this for over 10 years and it's absolutely clear to me that what we really need to understand now is what you people, us people, people up and down the country think about some of the different big choices that we have here. So what you believe and how you react to some of the things that our speakers will put in front of you is absolutely vitally important and of vital interest to the government and to people that I work with as well. Okay. So in our session this afternoon, we've got three fantastic speakers and essentially, they're going to cover three questions. First of all, we're going to get a sense of how difficult it is to get our homes to net zero emissions and a very quick answer there is that it is really, genuinely difficult. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've heard experts say that heat de-carbonisation is one of the trickiest, if not the single hardest thing with net zero, which is why it's brilliant that you're here to help us on this. The other point is that we're not doing very well in the UK at the moment. So if you if you look at emissions from buildings, as we'll see, they've been fairly, fairly flat in recent years. So what can we do? Well, there are some things that pretty much all of the experts agree on which we will hear. And then there are other areas which are much more open for debate. And that's where some of our advocates come in. And lastly, so at a very high level we'll set up some of the questions around how much this might cost and that can then help with some of the discussion tomorrow about how we pay for this and who takes the lead on doing some of these big changes.#
I'm now going to give you a very quick background tour of our homes in the UK. So at the moment we've got just under 30 million homes in the UK and they use just under 30% of our total energy, and most of that energy currently goes towards heating. So heating and hot water, which you can see are the two largest segments here in grey and red. Now, at the moment, our government is planning on building lots of new homes. But the good news there is that we have the technology now to build those homes so that they use very little energy, and that means very low bills and very few emissions. So when we're thinking about this, this question as a whole. A lot of the focus, if not most of the focus, is on these existing homes and at the moment, a lot of experts believe, based on past past trends, that most of the homes that are currently standing will still be standing in 2050. So really, that means that we've got this big task ahead of us, which is looking at upgrading almost all of those 28 million homes. Now that's challenging because the homes that we have in the UK are pretty old and inefficient. Overall. So a few points, they're mainly gas heated, and most of you will have gas heating. Although some people have oil or electric heating. And as mentioned we have a lot of older homes, so around 1/5 were built before the end of the first World War and in terms of the people that we have living up and down the country. So most people, around 2/3 of people own the homes that they live in. And then the rest of us, including generation millennial here, a lot of us are still renting and that's a mix of private rented i.e. private landlords and also social housing. So the real intuition here is that we really need to be looking at a mix of approaches for these different homes so different homes will need different kinds of heating, will need different kinds or levels of insulation. You might need to replace windows, doors etc but we also need to think about the people living in those homes. So, you know, we need to think about people who are vulnerable or people who might have particular needs, people who might be on lower incomes and at a very basic level, if we're thinking about trying to renovate a block of flats, then obviously it makes sense to think about the whole block rather than trying to do different things for all of the different flats.#
So our speakers are going to take us through some of the things that we can do to make our homes lower emissions overall. And the first really important area here that Nick Air is going to talk us through is how we can make our home more efficient. And this is one of the really big areas of agreement amongst pretty much anyone who's working on this or who has looked at this and that is really because of all the benefits that can bring. So if we insulate our homes, it can mean lower energy bills. It can make a home feel more comfortable, and it can also reduce emissions at the same time. And so Nick is going to talk to us about some of the easier things that we can do. So there are some things which, basically, if you pay for them and install them in your home because of the energy bill savings that you see, you actually pay, pay them back, pay them off quite quickly. So it might only take a few years before you've recovered the costs and then you're seeing those lower bills year on year. So that's things like loft insulation, for instance. So we'll hear about those. And then we'll also hear about some of the trickier one's. So some are a bit more expensive, and some are a bit more disruptive. But I guess you know what I really wanted to leave with you here is that there are huge benefits to doing this, it can really help make homes affordable to heat and there are also big savings. So, for instance, there's an estimate that the NHS, the cost of poor quality housing is currently between 1.4 billion and 2 billion every year in England alone. And so if we look at this in the round, actually this stuff can can deliver real benefits across society. Now the only real limit here is I guess it will, the main limit, I should say, is in terms of costs. So you know, if you try and go really, really far in terms of making existing homes efficient, you do see the cost start to go up, and these are very rough estimates. But we're talking potentially £20,000 or £30,000 per home and so that's where we start to look at instead, what you could do in terms of switching away from fossil heating and switching towards other kinds of heating.#
I'm going to talk very quickly about about this because we don't have a big focus on this. But it is an area where there is quite a bit of agreement amongst experts, so something that you might have heard about is essentially district heating systems. Now this basically means that you pipe hot water between buildings. It's also known as a central heating for cities sometimes because typically you will only do this in a really built up area where you've got a high concentration of buildings and although at the moment only 2% of our heating and buildings in the UK is is done using this kind of approach, if you go to other countries like Denmark, for instance, then it's over 40%. And the reason we think this could be really helpful for Net zero is that it means that you can connect up homes and then it's really easy to switch it in one go to zero carbon source and also, there is, there is reason to think that it can compete in terms of cost with gas, if provided you have enough enough demand. So it is, its positive overall. It has to be done right though and Becky mentioned consumer protection and essentially, we have to make sure that if we do go down this route, you have adequate consumer protection in place and that people don't get bills which are too high and that they get a good quality service overrule. Provided you have all of that in place though, the estimates the Committee on Climate Change are that this could be a reasonable approach for, say, up to five million homes by 2050 So then this is my last slide. Working back, we had our 28 million homes. We've done what we can do in terms of efficiency. And maybe that's that's cut our demand and cut our emissions by 20% or 30% maybe more and we've also thought about perhaps looking at connecting up homes to district heating systems, but that then still leaves us with over 20 million homes where, you know, we are pretty clear that we're going to have to switch away from gas and oil and in some cases, coal and switch towards other things. And so the two big options that are generally talked about here are switching across to high electricity. Sorry, high efficiency electric heating, which Richard is going to talk about, or potentially looking at the role that hydrogen could play.#
So 2, 3 quick things on those. Both are likely to lead to higher bills over all. The costs are pretty uncertain and the best estimates that we have, the Committee but also other experts, are that there isn't much in it between these two options in terms of costs. So it's much more about how we feel about these things, what we're happy to have in our homes. And that's where this discussion can really come in. Quick point so you can combine them actually in one house so you could have a small hydrogen boiler, and you could have on electric heat pump working together efficiently and we could also see different solutions being used in different parts of the country. So I'm going to hand over to our speakers. But before I do so, I just wanted to give, I guess a few, a few thoughts on this and that is that, you know, this is a difficult area. It's unlikely that we are going to solve this question over the course of the next few weekends. But because, as I've said, it is really something which is shaped by what we want as a society and what we're comfortable with. It will be really, really interesting to hear your thoughts and hear what you think about what our speakers have to say. Okay, thank you.
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