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100 days until COP26: what are we doing to reach Net Zero?

On 31 October, in just under 100 days, world leaders from more than 190 countries will meet in Glasgow for COP26 to discuss how best to tackle climate change.

Time is of the essence to limit the effect of climate change through reducing our carbon emissions. It is essential that the UK acts with every tool in our armoury – including fiscal measures such as reducing or removing VAT on green homes.

It is therefore disappointing that Government has decided against such measures. They would have significantly aided the uptake of low carbon technologies such as solar PV and battery storage systems, along with a plethora of other energy efficiency solutions.

With 100 days to go until COP26, ECA and industry are eagerly awaiting an announcement from the government on a solid plan for the UK’s decarbonisation program

It is obvious that the future is electric (even when viewing hydrogen as part of the solution – clean green hydrogen is only really viable through electrolysis using excess electricity produced by other renewables).

Key areas of focus are: 

  1. Stopping fossil fuel usage for energy
  2. Decarbonising the electricity grid 
  3. Reducing energy demand 

Whilst grid-scale renewable energy projects such as Solar PV and on/off-shore wind continue to be deployed and offer the lowest generation costs, a focus on building level performance and demands is equally important. 

Localised on-site generation, coupled with electrical energy storage systems (EESS), provide increased flexibility for our energy systems. Our buildings are moving to an energy prosumer model – consuming and producing energy. En masse, this helps to balance the electricity network. As the built environment becomes increasingly electrified, energy efficiency and energy reduction become ever more important. 

Reducing a building’s thermal losses allows for smaller heat pumps or even for the demands to be met through the direct electrification of heat such as   infra-red panels and smart-storage heaters –  the latter of which can also aid in grid flexibility.

Many of the products and technologies currently installed by our sector are also becoming more efficient. Older variants are being phased out (halogen and fluorescent bulbs for example) and this trend will continue.

With 100 days to go until COP26, ECA and industry are eagerly awaiting an announcement from the government on a solid plan for the UK’s decarbonisation program, as well as the long-awaited Heat and Buildings Strategy.