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Polish coal boiler phase-out an inspiration for clean heat

It all started in Krakow, Poland. The medieval city is known for its beauty, but also for poor air quality from coal heating. In 2012, a group of local residents joined together and founded the organisation Krakow Smog Alert to push for change — and the campaign got results. In 2013, the city approved a law…

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A Green Deal that works for everyone – Making the renovation wave a reality

Change is in the air. European leaders agreed in December that Europe would adopt a net-zero emissions target for 2050. The European Commission announced that it will put forward new legislation by March to enshrine climate neutrality in law. The Commission has issued a list of initiatives to reach carbon neutrality while leaving no one…

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Stuck in the past: Energy performance certificates hold back heat decarbonisation

In 2014, we bought an old Victorian house in Oxford, UK, well aware it needed major renovation work. Our energy performance certificate (EPC), which shows the energy performance of a building, was a poor grade “E” on a scale of A to G, with A being the highest performing category. We have since carried out…

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A Trans-Atlantic Take on Building Efficiency: Lessons from Germany and New England

Despite being an ocean apart, Germany and New England are similar in many respects. More than 75% of energy used for residential heat in both places relies on natural gas or heating oil. And both have adopted ambitious energy and climate goals — Germany committing to cutting carbon emissions from buildings by two-thirds below 1990…

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Why I replaced my new gas boiler with a heat pump

After installing a new air source heat pump in my home, I posted a photo on Twitter, delighted about the carbon emissions we will save. My celebration, however, was short-lived. The post triggered an intense discussion with many people feeling that my decision to replace my six-year-old gas condensing boiler was unjustifiable. “Ripping out a…

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Don’t throw money for heat decarbonisation out of the window

Last winter, I visited friends in London, who live in an old Victorian house. When I arrived for dinner, they told me that we could not use the kitchen as it was too cold. The radiators were running at full capacity, but most of the heat they generated leaked directly out of the house. It…

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Building efficiency is crucial to a fair energy transition

When we think of the complex transition to clean energy, we often think in terms of broad “how” questions. One question rightfully gaining increasing attention across the EU is how to address energy poverty as part of the clean energy transition. In Germany, even conservative estimates assume that one in ten households cannot afford to…

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Replacing copper with negawatts—how RIIO-2 could revolutionise network regulation

Ofgem’s recent framework decision on improving its performance-based regulation scheme, RIIO, indicates that it may be ready to take a much-needed step toward levelling the playing field between supply-side and customer-side resources. However, it is not yet clear what the details will look like. According to Jan Rosenow of the Regulatory Assistance Project, a global…

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Energy efficiency could cut UK home energy use in half

“We have done all the easy stuff on energy efficiency,” Dr. Jan Rosenow was told during a 2016 workshop organised by the National Infrastructure Commission on the future of heat in the United Kingdom. Some participants felt that energy efficiency is just too difficult. It was after that workshop that a group of energy efficiency…

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Without ambitious energy efficiency goals, the EU will fail Paris targets

The Paris Climate Agreement’s entry into force has clearly not yet spurred policymakers to charge toward the goal of limiting climate change to “well below 2°C” and targeting 1.5°C, warn Dr. Jan Rosenow and Stefan Scheuer. Energy efficiency remains the key to success. A new study by the Regulatory Assistance Project, Oeko-Institut, and Stefan Scheuer Consulting shows…