Campaign to Protect Rural England Standing up for your countryside

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Huge home energy efficiency drive needed

Energy efficient housing. Energy efficient housing. Photo: © Hastoe Housing Association Ltd.

Our latest research shows that we need to massively reduce energy demand from our homes to tackle the impacts of climate change, reduce bills and avoid widespread damage to the countryside.

If we continue to think largely in terms of supply, taking energy demand as a given, we will only be able to meet our carbon reduction commitments by handing over huge areas of the countryside to options such as wind turbines, solar panels, biomass and nuclear power stations, with disastrous consequences for landscape character.

Political debate, including within the green movement, fixates on the supply of energy – for or against wind turbines, solar energy, fracking and nuclear power. We need much more focus on conservation and demand management. Using less energy should come first. It makes sense for the landscape and climate, and it also makes strong social and economic sense.

Our report looks at current energy demands from homes  and the reduction in carbon emissions that could be achieved with low carbon and energy efficient homes. It looks at a number of case studies on individual homes and community buildings to understand what the motivations and barriers are to making those changes. We also make recommendations for what the government, industry, and homeowners and people responsible for community buildings should do to make the necessary improvements.

We are calling for a bold national programme to reduce energy and carbon emissions from homes if we are to get anywhere near the 80% emissions cuts required under the Climate Change Act by 2050. We want to see rural communities receive a fairer share of funding for energy efficiency. Eighteen per cent of the population live in rural areas, but receive less than 1 per cent of funding in the Government’s key energy efficiency programme to tackle fuel poverty. We are also calling for the implementation of much stronger zero carbon standards for new homes.

Recommendations

To make energy use in homes low carbon and affordable, as well as reducing impacts on the countryside, we recommend that the Government:

  • Implements a bold and effective national programme to reduce energy and carbon emissions from homes and community buildings: this should be at least an equivalent priority to the commitment to reduce emissions from energy supply.
  • Ensures that rural communities get their fair share of Green Deal, Energy Company Obligation and other sources of finance: if 18% of the population live in the countryside, they should get 18% of government support, not less than 1% as is currently the case.
  • Publishes an authoritative, evidence-based comparison of the carbon savings and costs of different low carbon technologies – for both energy demand and energy supply.
  • Implements higher standards for new homes to drive a clear pathway for energy and carbon savings.

Find out more

Report: Warm and Green
Making community energy work where you live

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