Homes in the UK are some of the draughtiest in Europe – we spend a small fortune each winter on heat which simply escapes through our windows, doors, walls and floors.
Heating amounts to about a third of UK greenhouse gas emissions, and about half of that is due to us heating our homes. 88% of the heat in our homes comes from fossil fuelled boilers. If we’re going to kick our fossil fuel habit, we need to do something about all this wasted heat.
There are plenty of things you can do at home to make the most of your heating. But a bit of DIY will only get us so far - if we really want to tackle Britain's energy problems, we need political support.
So once you’ve had fun sorting your heat at home, write to your MP - tell them what you’ve been doing at home and why you want their support to do more.
Cold homes is not simply a climate change issue. Cold homes have huge health and economic impacts for millions of people in Britain.
Cold homes cost the NHS around £1.3 billion every year. It can worsen chronic lung disease, asthma, arthritis and rheumatism. It also reduces our ability to fight off infection. Living in a cold house makes children twice as likely to suffer respiratory problems like asthma and puts teenagers more at risk of developing multiple mental health problems.
According to the National Children's Bureau, 3.8 million children in England live in families that are struggling to pay their energy bills. The UK government’s own statistics say a little over 10% of English households are living in fuel poverty.
The government has a legal target to use energy efficiency measures to lift homes out of fuel poverty by 2030. However, National Energy Action argue that current progress is so slow that target won’t be met for 80 years.
Write a letter to your MP asking them to do something about British heat. Use our online tool or write your own - we've suggested some bullet points below.
Here’s a quick guide if you want to write your own letter.
- Introduce yourself and say where you live.
- Explain why you are worried about how leaky British homes are. You might use some of the information above.
- If you have experience of living in a cold home, or know someone else who does, you might want to add that in too.
- Tell them what you’ve been doing at home to save heat - e.g. adding weather strips to your windows, using draft excluders.
- Say that you’re worried about how slow government action is, that you want to see these speeded up, and bigger and more ambitious plans in the new year.
- Finally, ask your MP to reply to you to say what they’ve doing to support people to keep warm and stop wasting energy.
Then simply put your MPs name on the envelope and send to: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
If you don’t know who your MP is, or want their email email address, go to MySociety's Write to Them tool and simply pop in your postcode!
Banner photo: Daniel, Creative Commons