Homes for Net Zero

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Homes for Net Zero is a research programme funded by the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ). The programme aims to improve the evidence base for the Department, helping it to better understand the options for homeowners to transition to a home that is compatible with Net Zero policy ambitions, while providing consumers with appealing and viable options for doing so.

The challenge

The residential sector contributed approximately 23% of UK CO2 emissions in 2020, behind only transportation (28%) and business (25%). In England alone, there are approximately 14 million owner-occupied homes who rely on gas central heating, equating to 57% of all homes. More broadly, 86% of England’s homes are heated by gas central boilers.

To achieve Net Zero by 2050, domestic properties will need to make the switch to a decarbonised heating source. However, decarbonisation of homes and heating through retrofit is often expensive and can be difficult for consumers to navigate.

DESNZ also recognises that not everyone will want or will be able to carry out a one-off whole house retrofit project. Many homeowners will want to take incremental steps to improve the energy efficiency of their home and prepare their heating system for a future low carbon heating installation. They may also want to prioritise measures that improve their comfort, which is often a priority for consumers, as well as reducing costs.

The solution

To address decarbonisation of our homes and enable viable routes for consumers to adopt different solutions and technologies, this programme will deliver practical research through recruitment and monitoring of 1,000 homes coupled with qualitative and quantitative research methods. In particular, the programme will focus on complex to decarbonise homes, notably owner-occupied, solid wall, gas heated homes.

Through the research, the Catapult will aim to better understand major consumer barriers for taking action and to test some measures and solutions that may help resolve these barriers. Phase 1 will focus on establishing the monitoring project and gathering evidence on the effectiveness of some low cost, low disruption measures (draught proofing, loft insulation, heating efficiency improvements and behavioural measures) that are lacking in real world evidence.

Energy Systems Catapult will use its Living Lab – currently made up of over 2,500 real homes across the UK – and its existing supporting digital infrastructure to recruit and monitor energy use in the selected participant homes.

Working with partners, E.ON, UCL and Oxford University, the Catapult will implement and measure the impact of retrofit interventions such as draught proofing, loft insulation, heating efficiency improvements and behavioural measures in a selected number of homes. Using in-home monitoring equipment to collect data (energy use through smart meters, boiler output temperature, air quality, humidity) we will quantify the impact of these measures between these homes and a selected control group.

This holistic view will shape DESNZ’s understanding of the options for homeowners to transition to a low carbon home while providing consumers with appealing and viable options for doing so, in the form of Net Zero roadmaps.

Register for Homes for Net Zero.

Take part and get free Tado room sensors and £30 worth of vouchers.

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