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Carbon emissions from heating our homes are contributing significantly to climate change, and the UK government is failing to cut these emissions despite warnings from an influential committee of MPs [1]. Hydrogen lobbyists claim that it can travel through existing pipes without carbon emissions [2], but the cost of installing low-carbon heating in existing homes can be prohibitively expensive [4]. Despite this, having an efficient heating system that runs on low-carbon fuel is one of the most important steps individuals can take to reduce fuel bills and carbon dioxide emissions [3].

The Shocking Truth About Carbon Emissions and Your Home Heating
Aerial landscape of Drax power station polluting the atmosphere with carbon dioxide emissions

The Impact of Heating on Carbon Emissions

In the UK, 40% of energy consumption is due to heating, and 85% of households are heated using fossil-fuel-based natural gas, which accounts for 14% of greenhouse gases [5]. Homes account for around 15% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions through their use of oil and gas for heating and hot water [9]. The Committee on Climate Change has warned that by 2030, these emissions need to be cut to 24% below their level in 1990 in order to meet the UK’s legally binding climate goals [9].

The Cost of Low-Carbon Heating

Installing low-carbon heating in a new home would cost £4,800, while the cost for an existing home could be as high as £26,300 [4]. This can be a significant barrier to adoption, particularly given that many individuals are skeptical that it will save them money and are concerned about the disruption associated with installation [10]. However, there are government grants available to help fund the installation of low-carbon heating systems [8].

Steps to Reduce Carbon Emissions from Home Heating

Upgrade to Low-Carbon Heating Systems

Upgrading to a low-carbon heating system, such as a heat pump, is one of the most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions from home heating [3]. Heat pumps use electricity to move heat from the air, ground, or water into buildings, making them more energy-efficient and emitting less carbon than traditional heating systems [5].

Improve Home Insulation

Improving home insulation can also significantly reduce carbon emissions from heating [3]. Insulating walls, roofs, and floors can help prevent heat from escaping, reducing the amount of energy required to heat the home and lowering carbon emissions [6]. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, improving insulation can also lower energy bills and make homes more comfortable by maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the home [3].

Consider Renewable Energy Sources

Another way to reduce carbon emissions from home heating is to consider renewable energy sources, such as solar panels or wind turbines, to generate electricity to power low-carbon heating systems [5].

Monitor and Control Heating Use

Monitoring and controlling heating use can also help reduce carbon emissions. Installing a smart thermostat can enable individuals to regulate heating use more efficiently, ensuring that heating is only used when necessary and reducing energy waste [6].

Consider Lifestyle Changes

In addition to upgrading heating systems, individuals can also consider lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions from home heating. For example, wearing warmer clothing, using hot water bottles, and closing doors and windows to retain heat can all help to reduce the need for heating [3].


Carbon emissions from heating homes contribute significantly to climate change, and it is crucial to take steps to reduce these emissions. Upgrading to low-carbon heating systems, improving home insulation, considering renewable energy sources, monitoring and controlling heating use, and making lifestyle changes can all help to reduce carbon emissions from home heating.

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