We can retrofit our homes to be net zero within a decade

By Nico van der Merwe, VP Home & Distribution at Schneider Electric UK & Ireland

Today, we are spending more time at home amid increased home-working. This is leading many of us to re-evaluate our housing conditions: to enjoy more outdoor space or to move to a quieter neighbourhood. We’ve also witnessed a temporary resurgence in wildlife and urban neighbourhoods have enjoyed cleaner air than they have for decades, giving us a glimpse of what the future could look like if we transition to cleaner energy and promote biodiversity.

However, there is a growing challenge linked directly to our dwellings. Residential housing is set to become the biggest consumer of electricity globally. In 2019, 34% of all CO2 emissions came from the residential sector. Today, we may be driving less, but we are working from home more, watching more TV, streaming more on Netflix, playing more video games and sending more Tweets.

In the near future, EV charging and the electrification of heat will see consumers’ electricity consumption increase two-fold by 2050. If the trajectory continues, we could see our energy bills soar by 70%, and the share of residential emissions rise even further. At the same time, many countries, including the UK, are committed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It is clear that this goal isn’t attainable without the creation of net zero homes. Many wonder if that’s realistic over the course of our lifetime. But I believe it could be possible within the next decade.

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