a 21st century home: character • comfort • low carbon
Our way into this low carbon way of thinking was to think that homes matter: they provide more than just shelter; they provide a personal and family environment, a sense of place and security, a base from which to relate to neighbours and the community, a space for creativity and hospitality. They support us to live healthy, fulfilled lives. And together – especially somewhere as architecturally rich as Highgate – they provide a sense of local identity. We’re aware that Highgate is an affluent area, and that most of the people reading this are privileged enough to live in ‘nice homes’ – yet they may not be warm in winter, or may incur high fuel bills. We aspire to making our homes fit for the 21st century – retaining their character, providing high levels of comfort, and significantly reducing their carbon emissions.
Both the Climate Change Act 2008 and binding EU targets commit the UK to reducing carbon emissions significantly. Following the 2015 UN climate conference in Paris, there is additional drive to reduce carbon emissions across all activities, domestic, national and international. Achieving this will require a complete transformation of the UK’s existing homes to reduce dramatically domestic emissions – and it’s perfectly possible to reduce the carbon emissions from a home by between 60% and 80%, as some local homes have shown. About 30% of UK’s carbon dioxide emissions come from energy use in the home, with heating and hot water responsible for about 75% of that. (And carbon dioxide emissions from the wealthiest 10% of UK households are twice as high as those from the poorest 10% from energy consumed in the home). Some 85% of the UK’s existing homes will still be in use in 2050, presenting us with a national low carbon refurbishment challenge. Some 6-7 million houses with cavity walls, 7 million lofts and 1 million homes with solid walls need to be insulated by 2018.
The group began to think that a focus on making homes sustainable and ‘fit for the 21st century’ would suit the ethos of the Society. We have ‘branded’ all our events with consistent features, such as yellow bunting decorating our posters and railings for our events. We welcome any individuals who would like to get involved and who are interested in sustainable living issues.
The Sustainable Homes group