Heating our homes is a major contributor to the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions. We need warm homes and we also need to cut CO2 emissions but both are possible if we start by analysing our heat use, then reducing it through better insulation, then switching to green heating systems.

As part of the government's net zero initiatives, the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) has released "Buying green heating and insulation products", which is designed to guide people through what can appear a complex decision by breaking the process down into stages: 1. Before buying, 2. Installation, 3. Completion, 4. Aftercare.

Initially, we focus on how to reduce our energy use by making our house as energy efficient as possible by insulating roof and walls and repairing or replacing windows and doors - collectively referred to as retrofitting our home. Then we should be able to turn down or even switch off heating and still stay warm.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The cover of the CMA report

The next step is to consider installing a green heating system. Heat pumps are very efficient and are widely available but may require some modifications for example as they operate at a lower temperature, radiators may need to be changed.

Overall, retrofitting and installing green heating benefits us through lower energy bills and warmer homes, but the process can be a temporary upheaval which may dissuade some people from going ahead. Interestingly, people have long accepted the disruption that comes with replacing a kitchen or a bathroom in order to gain the benefits so it may be helpful to consider the retrofitting process in a similar way of short term pain for long term gain.

Climate Action Stokesley and Villages (CASaV) brings together people to act locally and think globally to tackle the challenges to our climate and nature and is currently working to arrange new publicly-funded support for local residents to heat homes more efficiently. The CMA booklet will help us individually to make changes but we also need government action that is realistic and ambitious.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Climate Action Stokesley and Villages

We would encourage you to personally take control of heat use where you can, and lobby government, both local and national, to do the right thing.

Things you can do now:

  • Be aware of your energy usage
  • Retrofit your home to minimise energy consumption
  • Take advantage of green help / grants / tools provided by energy suppliers and local / national government
  • Tell your council you value support to make your home more energy efficient
  • Tell your MP that efficient heat usage must be prioritised, with regulation to ensure builders maximise efficiency and reduce waste, and schemes for home owners to reduce energy use

CASaV’s website has links to helpful resources including above guide – https://climateactionstokesleyandvillages.org/energy/. CASaV’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 20 at 7pm in Stokesley Globe Community Library will start with a talk from the Yorkshire Seal Group about how seals are in peril.