March 12

Regions Faulted for Missing Energy Efficiency Targets


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Recent analysis indicates a lack of progress in the North East of England regarding the greening of homes with the highest emissions, persisting for a concerning 13 years. In contrast, the South West has emerged as a frontrunner, demonstrating noteworthy advancements in addressing domestic emissions. The findings, presented by the Powering Net Zero Group (PNZ), shed light on the persistent challenge of reducing carbon emissions from the least environmentally friendly homes in regions like the North East, North West, and Yorkshire and the Humber, where improvements have been notably scarce since 2010.

The North East, despite efforts to enhance environmental sustainability, faces an ongoing struggle in curbing domestic carbon emissions. The analysis underscores the need for targeted interventions and strategies to green the highest-emission homes, potentially involving policy initiatives, public awareness campaigns, and incentivized programs. Understanding the specific challenges hindering progress in this region is essential for crafting effective solutions and fostering a more sustainable approach to housing.

Conversely, the South West’s commendable progress in tackling high domestic emissions offers valuable insights into potential successful strategies. Examining the initiatives and measures implemented in the South West could provide a blueprint for other regions aiming to make significant strides in greening their housing stock. This comparative analysis allows policymakers and stakeholders to identify best practices, facilitating a collaborative effort to address carbon emissions and work towards a more environmentally responsible future in housing across the country.

Homes contribute to almost 25% of the UK’s total carbon emissions, posing a significant obstacle to achieving net zero by 2050 without retrofit interventions, according to PNZ. Around 700,000 homes in England and Wales, falling within the highest percentiles of domestic emissions (equivalent to EPC ratings of F or G), emit over 100kg of carbon dioxide per square meter annually, surpassing the average home’s 40kg.

This disparity highlights a pressing issue, indicating the urgent need for tailored interventions in different regions to address the North/South divide in tackling high-emission homes. The stark contrast in carbon emissions underscores the necessity for targeted strategies, emphasizing the importance of region-specific approaches to effectively reduce carbon footprints and move closer to national net-zero goals.

As the analysis from PNZ Group brings attention to this divide, it prompts a call for comprehensive measures and policies that address the unique challenges faced by regions in England and Wales. This regional perspective in tackling high-emission homes is crucial to developing a more equitable and effective strategy, ensuring a more uniform approach to carbon reduction efforts across the country.

In 2023, 3.1% of homes in the North East, North West, and Yorkshire and the Humber were categorized as ‘high-emissions homes’, a minimal change from 3.4% in 2010, indicating slow progress in decarbonizing carbon-intensive houses. The North East faces the lengthiest journey to decarbonize such homes, with no change over 13 years, remaining at 2.37% from 2010 to 2023. The North West and Yorkshire also exhibit sluggish progress, with less than a 0.5% reduction in high-emissions homes since 2010. The North of England currently has nearly 220,000 such homes, needing substantial reduction to align with the UK’s net zero target.

Conversely, the South of England and Wales witness a steady decline in high-emissions homes, attributed to targeted interventions promoting greener homes through measures like heat pumps, double glazing, and solar panel installations. This regional disparity underscores the imperative for focused efforts in the North to accelerate the reduction of high-emissions homes, aligning with broader national goals for carbon neutrality.

Despite having the highest proportion of emissions-intensive homes at 6.5% in 2010, the South West has made significant progress, reducing it to 3.7% in 2023. Eden in the North West tops the list with 16% of homes emitting over 100kg of CO2 per square meter, a rise from 11% in 2010. Disturbingly, over a tenth of local authorities in England and Wales witness an increase in high-emissions homes since 2010, with 25 out of 36 in the North. PNZ co-founder Simon Turek highlights a significant regional disparity, emphasizing the need for private sector investment alongside government retrofitting schemes to make homes energy-efficient and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.


Carbon Energy UK, Energy Efficiency, EPCs

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