Will reducing your energy use at home actually help reduce global warming?

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Global warming is one of the most, if not the most, pressing issue facing our world today. With the magnitude of the situation dominating the global agenda, many of us are looking to large businesses (68%) and national governments (62%) to instigate change, according to our latest global consumer survey.

While these bodies play a crucial role, the impact of the individual should not be underestimated when it comes to contributing to a healthier planet. Collective action can yield powerful results, and this was recognised in the response to our survey, in which individuals ranked third at 52%.

This is evident when noting that it takes a great deal of energy to run our homes. According to the United Nations, the energy supply sector accounts for 35% of global emissions, making it the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Highlighting this can help us to understand how big an impact each individual can have when observed collectively.

And while many of us are aware of the impact our households have on climate change and global warming, with more than half of the population realising the importance of their homes becoming net zero within their lifetime, 40% feel like this is unlikely to happen.

Today, many of us see sustainability and energy use as being intrinsically linked and having a direct impact on each other. For example, increasing energy bills was the number one concern for people (86%), should global temperatures rise by more than 1.5ºC.

But could this work in reverse? If we reduce our energy consumption, will this help to lower global temperatures?

You’ll be glad to hear that the answer is yes!

The biggest home contributors of home energy use

Let’s look at what represent 60 to 70% of our energy use – home heating.

In the UK, this accounts for around 37% of the country’s total carbon emissions because many homes still rely on gas boilers.

To break this down further, carbon emissions from heating are as follows…

  • Space heating – 17%, with as much as 14% being attributed to domestic homes
  • Hot water – 4%
  • Cooking – 2%

These carbon emissions are greenhouse gasses, which are heating the planet. By reducing our reliance on fossil fuels such as gas and switching to renewable energy, we can begin to make a real dent in minimising the impact of global warming. That is why many countries around the world currently have Net Zero targets and deadlines in place, and are offering financial incentives to homeowners in return for replacing their gas boilers with renewables such as heat pumps and solar.

Whilst take-up in renewables does vary around the world – largely driven by the suitability of existing homes and the cost – there are still things we can be doing to reduce our carbon emissions as much as possible at home, even with a gas boiler.

How to reduce carbon emissions at home today

1. Get smarter with your heating

Get smarter with your heating

Technology is already playing a significant role in how we consume and manage our energy, and can support reducing carbon emissions. A smart heating control, such as Wiser, can be used to help optimise the performance of your heating system through features such as optimum stop and weather compensation. In doing so, the boiler doesn’t need to work as hard or run for as long, to deliver the desired levels of heat. The less time a gas boiler is fired, fewer carbon emissions are released. Another way to reduce carbon emissions from your heating is to lower the flow temperature of the system.

2. Upgrade inefficient appliances

Upgrade inefficient appliances

With older, inefficient appliances, you may be producing more carbon emissions than you realise. A good first step is to monitor your energy use to identify any appliances consuming a lot of energy.

When you know the main culprits, you can look at whether you can change their run settings to some form of Eco mode, or if they need replacing altogether.

3. Improving building materials

Insulating homes efficiently is another great way to reduce overall energy consumption. For example, houses with effective loft insulation and high-performance windows and doors can retain more heat, meaning that the reliance on heating the home becomes less, in turn releasing fewer carbon emissions.

4. Encourage open conversation and behaviour change

reducing your energy use at home actually help reduce global warming

While reducing global warming may feel like an overwhelming feat, it is clear that there is a lot that can be done when it comes to reducing the home’s carbon emissions.

As they say, knowledge is power, and having regular conversations with one another about what changes can be made within the home is key to driving down our personal carbon footprints.

While the statistics surrounding energy consumption make for sobering reading, it also empowers us to understand what more we can do to help reduce carbon emissions and create change that will promote a happier and healthier planet. Luckily, as technology develops and education on the environment becomes clearer, we can begin to make changes at household level that will impact the future of the world.

To learn more about the results of our 2023 global consumer survey, read the report here.

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