back to article Britain's home front must go green, study

The UK's domestic carbon footprint could be reduced by 80 per cent by 2050, and a good start can be made using existing technologies, according to a report from an Oxford University academic. Brenda Boardman, a senior research fellow at Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute, said that reducing emissions from …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Tend to want proof of these figures. Surely after all this time most houses are insulated as much as they reasonably can be. After all, at one time one could get grants for loft and cavity wall insulation. A quarter of ALL the UK's carbon emissions? I'd be skeptical.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Increase housing density?

    I think the report authors will find 95% of the UK population think that housing densities are far too high already, hence the building of useless & mostly-empty 1 & 2-bedroomed apartments on every new development across the country.

    Quality NOT quantity!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    80 percent?

    What are they counting in the carbon footprint? Heating, lighting and hot water? Or personal transport and polymer use as well? Are they counting energy costs for water treatment and waste disposal?

    The Government needs to mandate the inclusion of renewable energyu sources in new build homes so that photoelectric cells, solar hot water, heat pumps and wind turbines become mass market items and a field worth competing in, driving prices down and efficiency up to make it feasible to retrofit older builds. They need to stop fucking around with the grant systems so that those who have been trying to open the trail can actually be somewhat assured of a consistent background within which to plan.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    So here we are again, no mention of using all the electricity wasted in street and advertising lights to store power off peak and use it again when needed, or of updating the system for the distribution of goods, so it is not dependant on thousands of HGV's driving around the countryside but travel on electrified railways using the power currently wasted at night.

    While we are at it, we could stop sending armed forces and polititians all over the planet using unnecessary fuel. Stay out of wars where we don't belong and stop buying millions of tonnes of plastic junk made in China and apparently necessary for religious festivals.

    I could go on but.....

  5. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Yes, 80 percent

    If everything in your house (including heating and cooking appliances) ran on electricity from a nice nuclear power station, you'd see this size of reduction in carbon footprint. Don't worry, there's no rush. All your fuel-burning domestic applicances will probably need replacement as part of general maintenance at some point in the next forty years. Just replace them with electric devices at that time.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    @Anon Coward

    I would think there are a lot of houses that dont have insulation!

    Having just moved into a new (old) house, there is minimal insulation in the loft and the part of the house that has a cavity doesnt have insulation either.

    Having looked into grants etc. If you happen to be married with no kids, both working. You get no grant at all or something stupid like £30 towards it.

    Whereas if you sit at home claiming benefits popping out the muggers of the future.. you get the whole £3k+ paid for, loving new loft and cavity insulation installed while you sit infront of your large plasma TV watching Ricki Lake...nice

    So unfortunately much as I would like to have insulation installed, save the planet and reduce my longer term costs of heating etc. I cant afford to as I'm paying all my taxes for others to have an easy life!

    Only other option is for a 0% credit card which is the next step....

  7. Spleen

    Pointless nonsense

    By 2050, the technological landscape will have changed completely. Either the whole issue will be moot, or we'll have found better ways of fixing it. Or an asteroid will have crashed into the earth. Or the population will have been reduced by 80%. Any of the above and a billion trillion other things that can happen in 43 years.

    "This will do X by 2050" basically translates as "Give us your money, give us more intrusion into your personal life, because by the time comes when we promised some actual payback, the masses will have forgotten about it and the people in charge of the initial decision will be dead or retired."

  8. Andy Davies

    Not all houses are well insulated...

    "Tend to want proof of these figures. Surely after all this time most houses are insulated as much as they reasonably can be. After all, at one time one could get grants for loft and cavity wall insulation. A quarter of ALL the UK's carbon emissions? I'd be skeptical."

    I've recently bought a Victorian cottage and it has no insulation in the roof...

    It's also got now felt under the tiles, so as that needs fixing we're going to add insulation too - currently we're sleeping under two duvets!

  9. Mike Street

    A@ Anon Coward 2

    It depends on where you live. I got loft insulation and cavity wall for about 300 GBP two years ago on a scheme administered by the local council (step forward, Forest Heath) and paid for, I think, by Scottish Power (who do not supply me with electricity). No qualifications required except a house that needed it (we also were married, 2 incomes, no kids).

    I agree with Spleen though - 40 year forecasts are risk-free for the forecaster.

  10. Anton Ivanov

    The tuth is that Joe Average does not care

    Out of nearly 100 houses on my street built around 1960 only 4 have retrofitted insulation. One british pensioner, my house and 2 more immigrant families. The remaining 96 do not give a flying f***!!!

    This is the reality of the UK housing market. People will invest into shiny things that will make the house more "sellable" like a new front porch, new kitchen, bathroom or conservatory. They will not invest into insulation, energy efficiency or anything else that reduces the so called "footprint" unless it provides them with a return on investment. Currently it does not because there is no way in hell to bring any old house into the "no stamp duty" league. The only way of making people improve on their fuel efficiency is to either relax these rules or to add a stick to the proverbial carrot and put the stamp duty for the worst cases of energy inefficiency up to to 20-30% (or more).

    Further to this, an average UK family probably produces as much carbon dioxide (and other even nastier pollutants) by demisting and defrosting their cars. That uses up to half a litre per day per household in winter. Frankly, if HMG wants to reduce the average brit carbon footprint (and the country oil addiction) in no time changing the planning regulations to allow car ports on the fronts on properties is the fastest route to it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    politicians have ruined it

    .. this kind of report should be looked upon as a useful suggestion of how we can save energy, but due to various politicians using "green" issues as a way to squeeze more taxes out of us and then cut the projects they were for (which i believe our own government did very recently) its difficult for us as individuals to see how our little efforts are going to right all the crap that industry (sanctioned by government) is doing.

    This is an issue that warrants discussion, but thanks to our self serving leaders its already a case of crying wolf.

  12. Risky
    Thumb Down

    on and the other hand

    If you're living in the country nealy anything a bit old is listed so most of this is a bit irrelevant, unless they want them bulldozed.

  13. JeffyPooh

    Report writers are often insane

    Exhibit A: "...this report shows that you can get an 80 per cent cut in the domestic sector by 2050."

    Possible, provided you're willing to accept the financial and environmental cost of knocking down the existing stock of old, poorly-designed housing. Blowing a wee bit of insulation into the loft isn't going to get you 80%.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anton Ivanov

    "for the worst cases of energy inefficiency up to to 20-30% (or more)."

    How about those of us living in older houses who've done everything we can -loads of insulation, double glazing, no cavities to fill, reflective stuff behind the radiators, oh and turning stuff off and the thermostat down?

    The only way we could improve the energy efficiency of our house now is to bulldoze the whole lot and start again.

    Would a better option be to base such a stamp duty charge on the efforts made to improve a building rather than the starting point? A 'Value Added' factor for example?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heating systems.

    You would be surprised as to how much CO2 a 10-year old boiler punts out compared to what a more modern 'A' rated boiler does.

    If all houses modernised their space & water heating systems then CO2 emissions from the domestic sector would be dramatically reduced.

    Insulation helps, but cannot do all of the work by itself.

  16. Cameron Colley

    More bullshit from our dictators.

    The sooner they forget this "Carbons" bullshit and move on the better.

    Show me some evidence that the dinosaurs used cars and I'll believe your "human made climate change" otherwise shut the fuck up and join the bloody movementarians or something -- makes about as much sense.

    The climate _will_ change -- but there's nothing we can do about it, it was happening before we evolved and it will go on long after we die out. We should be saving money to help pay for measures to deal with climate change when it happens.

  17. mark Silver badge

    too little too late

    By 2050 society will have violently collapsed in flames due to lack of fossil fuel.

    All this carbon footprint stuff isnt to protect the environment its to learn how to survive with no oil! at least it should be- none of the politicians seem to know about that.

  18. TeeCee Gold badge

    Yet again.

    Following on from "we're going to tax the fuck out of you if you can't afford to buy a brand spanking new greener car", we now have "we're going".

    Must be marvellous to be as rich as Croesus these days and be able to take advantage of all the lovely inherent tax reductions for buying new stuff every time the bastards move the goalposts.

    Time to break out the AK47s and start hanging environmentalists from lampposts before things get out of hand.

  19. david g
    Thumb Down

    @Anton Ivanov

    Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant - ask you nearest tree.

    Of course now we are being told not to use incandescent light bulbs and to use these crappy dim, expensive, highly-polluting-to-manufacture-and-dispose-of low energy ones, the hippies are all wondering why the boiler is working harder.

  20. Roly Gross

    Ahhh, the reasoned argument....

    ....of an AK47 and a noose.

    I think you'll find that we environmentalists are doing you a favour. If you reduce your energy use, when oil reaches $300 a barrel you'll start claiming to have been one of us all along :o)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Roly.

    When that time comes an AK-47 will ensure you have all the tools you need to keep some oil & associated products for yourself - and see off some pesky greens to boot.

    Just ask GWB.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    A Good Start would be..............

    A Good actually enforcing the build standards of modern homes which are put together with gaffer tape and wishful thinking.

    For example a new build must be leak tested for drafts using a quick and simple bit of kit that test the throughout of the house with all openings shut. However only 1 in 3 have to be tested by law and so as developers dont do quality only 1 in 3 meet the standards for draft exclusion.

    There is no point going down the green line legislation if the existing energy efficiency legislation inst already being followed / upheld.

    You buy a new house and you have 66% chance that it does not meet the building codes in multiple areas.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It surprises me to hear that some folk's experience is that houses have not been retrospectively insulted, especially since it is a good selling point. I guess my reaction to the government grants wasn't a typical one then.

    But even so, I say again, a quarter of ALL the UK's carbon emissions? Including industry, and all transport, and power generation, and cows, :-) and everything ? You sure someone isn't trying it on with these big figures/promises ? I'm no expert, just your average guy in the pub, but it still sounds like exaggeration to me,

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