Published On: Mon, Jun 17th, 2019

Doing our bit to fight climate change

Climate change has really been hitting the headlines lately. On the back of Extinction Rebellion’s protests in major cities in the UK, comes a call from the Committee on Climate Change that the Government must immediately set legally binding targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. There is no doubt our planet is under attack from increasing carbon emissions and to prevent further long-term damage to our environment significant changes need to be made. The UK is pioneering many initiatives, however, when you look at the main global culprits contributing to carbon emissions, it does put things into perspective. Globally, China is the worst offender with 27% of total carbon dioxide emissions, followed by the USA on 15%, India 7%, Russia 5%, with the UK standing at 1.2%. Despite our relative inconsequential percentage share, a drive to cut our own emissions to zero by 2050 is the morally correct path to take – and there remains a hope the serious offenders will take note.

In the UK, energy used by domestic buildings accounts for approximately 25% of the UK’s total emissions. In fact, domestic households are the second largest energy consumer in the UK. Of 27 million households, 21 million homes are currently below at EPC rating C. Since 1990, CO2 emissions from homes in the UK have actually decreased by 18%, with much of the reduction being attributed to wall and loft insulation. Plans have been discussed to have all cavity walls and lofts and 2 million solid walls insulated by 2030. Construction products are in the spotlight and have been widely acknowledged as both cause and cure for many of our carbon emission woes. With gas boilers set to be banned in new homes by 2025, the Government is closing in on the serious offenders. Our own industry is in a unique position as we supply products that improve the energy efficiency of a home and can contribute to cutting carbon emissions. Surprisingly, I feel we have taken the foot off the gas for a little when it comes to presenting our own energy-saving and environmental credentials to homeowners. Doubtless aesthetics and functionality sell windows and doors, but energy efficiency is still high on the list. We became a little sidetracked by the triple-glazing debate, and lost the main message of reducing heat loss via windows, whether they are double- or triple-glazed. It could be the perfect time to ramp up the message that ‘new windows and doors can help save our planet.’

John CowieEditor