It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of climate change, but the fight against it really does start at home. Some 40 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions are linked to the built environment. Britain’s bricks and mortar is cold and draughty, but what can we do about it?
Some of you are doing a lot. Our analysis of the UK’s greenest cities showed that, from Islington to Oxford and Manchester to Cardiff, residents are coming up with local solutions to reduce carbon emissions and household waste. Search for your city to find out how green it really is. Yet when it comes to properties, the countryside isn’t as green as it looks. Owners of historic homes are increasingly fed up with planning rules that stop them from getting double glazing or properly insulating their homes.
While it’s important to highlight the work that needs to be done, we have plenty of guides, tips and solutions to get you started. In April homeowners will be able to apply for a £5,000 grant towards the cost of replacing their gas boiler. Our guide outlines the costs, installation process and what you should be replacing your gas boiler with before they are banned in 2035. Not sure about heat pumps? We have everything you need to know here, from costs to what can go wrong.
Heat pumps are useless without proper insulation to keep the warmth in. We tell you how to insulate your home so you stay toasty and don’t waste your money. And don’t forget cavity wall insulation, which has been a costly headache for homeowners in the past.
Don’t know what to do with your piles of bras and mountains of printer cartridges? Clear the clutter by learning how to recycle the unrecyclable. Other overlooked improvements include reducing your indoor air pollution and preparing your garden for a changing climate. Learn how to climate-proof your home too, to guard against the more frequent extreme rainfall and regular 40C degree heatwaves predicted by the scientists. We outline ten ways, from raising your house on stilts to changing your shower head, that can make all the difference.
You can’t be what you can’t see, as they say, so we have plenty of aspirational examples of homeowners who’ve gone green. This retrofit of a family house in Hertfordshire is a roadmap to a more sustainable way of living. One household in south London swapped their draughty Victorian semi for an eco-build with its own wildflower meadow on the roof and reduced their energy bills by 94 per cent.
New-builds are pushing the envelope too, such as these two semi-detached homes on the edge of Gateshead that are the first to be run entirely on hydrogen, and these homes in a Cornish garden village with solar farms and the UK’s first net carbon zero school.
Overseas, mud huts are even being built in Italy using 3D printing technology and repurposed materials.
From practical tips to the wonder of human ingenuity, The Times and The Sunday Times property team have you covered for climate change. But if there is anything you think we should be covering, or any questions you would like us to answer, leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.