3 next-level ways to get your home to net zero
Science says we need to achieve net zero by 2050 in order to avert a climate crisis. But what does this actually mean, and how can you contribute to making it a reality? We make sense of sustainability, and show you three next-level ways to get your home greener than ever.
What will the future of energy look like?
A green recovery is at the heart of the UK Government’s plans to ‘Build Back Better’ following the COVID-19 pandemic. These plans are based on investing in renewable energy, such as wind or solar, as well as reaching the target of net zero by 2050.
What does Net Zero mean?
Net zero means finding the balance between the amount of carbon dioxide emissions we produce, and how much we remove from the atmosphere. More than 40% of all UK emissions come from our homes, so it makes sense to start there when tackling the climate emergency – it’s where we can make the most difference. We can do this by decarbonising and becoming more energy efficient.
It may sound complicated – but it’s not! Decarbonisation simply means using low-carbon power sources to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which not only makes your home more energy-efficient, but cheaper to run too. It’s a win-win.
Switching to more sustainable systems to power and heat your home is good for people, for the planet and for your pocket. Here are a few new innovations that can help you significantly reduce your home’s emissions, so that you can get your home closer to net zero. But remember…
Don’t skip the basics
It’s easy to get carried away with the big-ticket items like heat pumps and hydrogen blend-ready boilers (more on those later). But there are loads of smaller improvements to make your home greener without breaking the bank.
Insulation, insulation, insulation
One of the best things you can do to make your home greener is getting it properly insulated, especially if you live in an older property. Insulating your loft, windows and cavity walls will keep the heat in and make your home feel warmer – so you won’t need to turn the heating up as much. In fact, you’ll need decent insulation before you start upgrading to greener heating.
Switch to smart meters
Smart meters make it easier to understand exactly how much energy you’re using every day – and where you may be able to cut down. And by using less energy, you’ll save money too. Plus, it’s free to get them installed by your energy provider.
Energy-saving smart tech
Installing energy-saving tech, like Hive smart thermostats, smart bulbs and smart sockets, is a really clever way to cut your energy use without too much hassle. As well as banishing standby mode and making sure your lights aren’t left on, it can also save you from ever heating an empty home again. And that’s good for the planet, and your wallet.
1. Install a hydrogen blend-ready boiler
Right now, the majority of us heat our homes using a natural gas or oil-powered boiler. And as we know, these fossil fuels release a large amount of carbon emissions into our atmosphere. But there is a simple solution to cut those emissions without needing to completely overhaul the UK’s gas infrastructure – or your heating system at home: Hydrogen.
The only by-product of hydrogen gas is water, which makes it a great source of fuel that doesn’t harm the planet. And while we’re not producing enough of it right now, it’ll be one of the main sourceof power for our homes in the future. So having a boiler that’s ready for the change is really important – and means you’ll gradually go greener at home without even realising it.
All our new boilers are hydrogen blend-ready, which means they’re able to run on a mixture of hydrogen and natural gas. So you won’t have to worry about it being out of date when we start getting more ‘green gas’ from the Grid.
Find out more about the U.K plans for Hydrogen in the gas supply here: Hydrogen boilers: everything you need to know.
Want to future-proof your boiler? Get a quote for a hydrogen blend-ready boiler.
2. Invest in a heat pump
Heat pumps are another green and efficient alternative to traditional boilers. They work by absorbing heat from the natural environment and passing it through a fluid that circulates it inside the heat pump where it’s compressed. This increases its temperature, which then gives you heating and hot water.
There are two different types to choose from: air source heat pumps (ASHPs) which absorb heat from the air outside, and ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) which get their heat from the ground. Although they work in a very similar way, there are some key differences which will affect your choice.
Air source heat pump:
- Cheaper and easier to install than GSHPs
- Higher running costs
- Works in temperatures as low as -15°C
- Often requires planning permission
- Lasts for around 10 years
Ground source heat pump:
- More expensive and trickier to install than ASHPs
- Lower running costs
- More efficient in lower temperatures
- Doesn’t require planning permission
- Lasts for around 20 years
Whichever one you go for, it’s still a much greener way to heat your home than with a traditional natural gas or oil boiler, because they don’t create any emissions when they generate heat. And installing one could make you eligible for government payments through the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (this will be replaced by the Clean Home Grant in March 2022).
Read our dedicated guide find out exactly how hybrid heat pumps work. We’re currently running a trial of air source heat pumps in the West Midlands, and plan to run trials for ground source heat pumps very soon. Here’s how you can get involved.
3. Switch to a Mixergy hot water tank
Conventional tanks heat all the water they contain, which you may not need. So for example, whatever you don’t use for your morning shower slowly cools during the day, only to need reheating later. Mixergy tanks, however, can have sections of water at different temperatures – so you only heat what you use. And because you’re not heating as much water, it’s delivered up to five times faster.
It’ll even actively learn how much you use and when you typically use it, so you won’t waste time or energy heating more than you need. And thanks to the Mixergy app, you’re always in full control.
Why choose a Mixergy tank?
- Cuts your hot water costs by up to 20%
- Gives you up to 30% more usable hot water
- Provides excellent hot water flow through your hot taps at cold mains pressure
- Reduces your gas consumption by up to 21% (EST verified)
Find out more about Mixergy hot water tanks.