Smarter and more efficient homes are crucial to meeting net-zero
We need a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ to move our homes towards net-zero emissions, said Anna McMorrin MP, at Smart GB’s panel discussion at Labour Connected.
Speaking at the Smart GB fringe at Labour Connected, Anna McMorrin MP, Shadow Minister for International Development, cautioned: “We can't go back to business as usual. We've got to use this opportunity to build back better, build back greener and address the climate emergency.”
The event, titled: The path to Net-Zero - How smarter and more efficient homes are crucial, brought together a panel to discuss a range of challenges facing the UK, from the Covid-19 green recovery, to tackling the climate emergency.
Anna McMorrin MP told the fringe about the importance of building energy efficient homes and retrofitting existing homes to ensure they are efficient.
She said that the UK Government was currently “letting housing stock go to waste” and raised concerns about the Government’s commitment to energy efficient homes.
“We know that the Committee on Climate Change has warned that this is the biggest area that needs urgently needs addressing, because the climate emergency is on us,” she continued.
She called for a “Green Industrial Revolution” with a focus on rebuilding our economy and upskilling people for newer, greener jobs.
Adam Scorer, Chief Executive, National Energy Action (NEA) said that making homes more energy efficient was a “precondition for exploiting the smart future.”
He warned that 4 million people in the UK live in fuel poverty and that 10,000 people perish every year directly due to the cost of cold homes.
But how can we adapt and evolve our homes to move us towards net-zero emissions and ensure that more vulnerable consumers are not left behind?
Mr Scorer said that existing Government energy efficiency programmes in England were “shameful.”
“If you get a smart meter today, you're preparing your home for a brilliant future”
He added that it was important to have a strong energy efficiency programme in England to have healthy homes in England.
He said that smart meters, which are pre-paid, provide a good opportunity for energy companies to see where help is needed.
Dr Rose Chard, Consumer Insight Manager, Energy Systems Catapult agreed with Mr Scorer that there needed to be good experiences for people in homes.
She said that industry needed help people, especially the vulnerable, to “control how much they spend to get the energy they need.”
Robert Cheesewright, Director of Communications, Smart Energy GB - the Government-backed national consumer campaign for the smart meter rollout - told the fringe that smart meters were vital.
“We want every single person in the country to get smart meter,” he said.
“The reason for that is that they're foundational pieces of tech that enable some of the other innovation to come later.
“If you get a smart meter today, you're preparing your home for a brilliant future,” he said.
Mr Cheesewright described how the pandemic delayed the rollout of smart technology into people’s homes.
He added that the recent campaigns have been focusing on how people manage their own energy, adding that this was important as more people were spending time in their homes.
He added: “The rollout needs to get going again at full pace, subject to a second lockdown. We need to protect those jobs, because we need engineering jobs up and down the country.”
"The recent Government announcement on creating green jobs was a good thing, but current funding was still a “drop in the ocean,” he explained.
Dr Chard told the panel that working out what people value was important to look at how energy was used.
“We mustn't forget that what we're trying to do is reach people, we're trying to ensure that people can use energy in a way that's important to them,” she said.