Warm welcome for low carbon heating

Sarwjit Sambhi

By Sarwjit Sambhi
Chief Executive, Centrica Consumer

Warm welcome for low carbon heating

Recently I contributed to an essay collection, Delivering Net Zero, collated by Bright Blue, an independent UK think tank, and WSP, the leading engineering professional services firm. Contributors included leading chief executives, politicians, academics and thought leaders from across the private, public and third sectors.

Given the current impact of COVID-19, there is an opportunity to bring issues we have been talking about front and centre, and these essays are timely in helping to do that.

COVID-19 has shown us all how vulnerable the world is to external shocks. Through driving a focus on science, international co-operation and changes to the way we live our lives, it mirrors the adjustments that are needed to tackle climate change.

As the largest domestic energy supply and services business in the UK, we have a unique opportunity to make an impact on climate change, as well as a huge responsibility to do so. For several years we have been taking steps to enable our customers to use energy more sustainably, through smart metering and thermostats, high-efficiency boilers, Green and Electric Vehicle (EV) tariffs, and the installation of EV charge points.

This decade, we need to broaden our collective focus to all emissions sources, especially those that are harder to tackle. Of all those sources, heat is the most challenging. Emissions from heat now account for over a third of UK emissions – the single largest contributor.

With over 200,000 new build homes being built every year, this housing segment represents one of the easiest and fastest opportunities for low carbon progress. New homes are designed from the ground up to be low carbon and are therefore one of the most efficient and effective ways to save carbon.

One of the issues I touch on in the essay is proposals such as the Government’s new Future Home Standard, which should not be delayed. While this does mean a change for housing developers, we need to make substantial change at pace to reach Net Zero. 

We are already pressing ahead. Centrica now has well established partnerships with housing developers and we will be making announcements about our involvement in new low carbon housing developments over the coming months.

“Building back better,” with a focus on decarbonising the UK’s homes, will allow us to tackle the climate crisis head on, building a sustainable economy with long- term job opportunities across a wide range of sectors.

You can read my full essay, along with the other essays here.