3 next-level ways to get your home to net zero

19th April 2022

A smart meter can help manage your energy use.

Science says we need to achieve net zero by 2050 in order to avert a climate crisis. But what does net zero actually mean, and how can you contribute to making it a reality? In this article, we make sense of sustainability – and show you how to get your home greener than ever.

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. When we’re no longer adding extra carbon to the atmosphere every year, we’ll have reached ‘net zero’.

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. And we can do this by decarbonising and becoming more energy efficient.

Decoding decarbonisation

Decarbonisation simply means using low-carbon power sources instead of fossil fuels. So instead of relying on coal, oil and gas, we should turn to wind, solar, hydroelectric, tidal – and any other renewable way of generating the power we need.

If we can do that at the right scale, we should be able to significantly reduce the carbon dioxide we produce and slow down the rate of climate change.

Switching to more sustainable systems to power and heat your home is good for the planet and everyone who lives on it. The good news is, taking steps towards net zero isn’t always expensive. And some things – like improving the energy efficiency of your home – can actually end up saving you money in the long run.

How to start your net zero journey

It’s not just about the bigger things like heat pumps and hydrogen blend-ready boilers (more on those later). There are loads of smaller improvements that make your home greener but won’t break the bank.

Insulation, insulation, insulation

One of the best ways to make your home greener is getting it properly insulated, especially if you live in an older building. 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.

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 plugs 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.

Hive mini thermostat.

1. Invest in a heat pump

Heat pumps are a low-carbon alternative to traditional gas boilers. They work by absorbing heat from the air outside your home, then compressing it with a little electricity to raise the temperature. This heat is then used to produce hot water and keep your home cosy.

A gas boiler creates CO2 emissions whenever gas is burned, but a heat pump is different. If your home is energy efficient and well insulated, a heat pump only uses a little bit of electricity – and if this is zero-carbon (like the electricity you’ll get on a British Gas fixed tariff), then you’ll be able to heat your home without creating any CO2 at all.

Because they’re so good for the environment, the government has introduced an incentive scheme to encourage more people to get them installed. This is called the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and is currently worth £5,000. On top of this, the government has reduced VAT on heat pumps from 5% to 0%, which helps us keep the prices as low as possible.

We’ve got lots more info on heat pumps for you to read. But if you’re interested in finding out how to order one, go to our heat pump installation page.

Heat pump.

2. 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.

3. Replace your old boiler

You might think all boilers are pretty much the same. But the difference between an old inefficient boiler and a modern energy-efficient one can be dramatic.

All boilers sold by British Gas today are A-rated condensing boilers, which means efficiency levels of at least 92%. But older boilers can be as low as 60% efficient – and that means 40% of the gas you use goes to waste.

Getting a new A-rated boiler installed can also save you up to £580 a year 1 on your annual gas bill, which means it’ll be much easier to manage your energy costs.

So, if your boiler is getting on a bit – or even worse, starting to play up – now’s the time to upgrade to a modern boiler. British Gas has A-rated models and installation options for every budget. And there are lots of good reasons to choose us when getting your new boiler.

Is now the right time to buy a new boiler?

If you’re worried about buying a new boiler because you’ve heard they might be banned from 2025, don’t worry. That only applies to new-build properties, so it won’t affect homeowners.

It’s also good to know that all boilers sold by British Gas are ready for the hydrogen blend that will be introduced to mains gas in the next few years.

This article explains all you need to know about the boiler ban, hydrogen-blend ready boilers and the UK’s long-term plans to transition to hydrogen gas. The most important thing to know is that any new boiler you buy today will almost certainly be powered by natural gas for all its working lifetime.

We make it easier to go green

From EV chargers on your driveway to smart tech around the home, we have loads of ways to make everyday life more sustainable. Why not explore our green living hub to find out more?

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Additional information

  1. Saving when upgrading from a G-rated boiler. Source: http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-energy-efficiency/boiler-replacement