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Buildings and energy - Climate change

The scale of the challenge

Energy used to heat and power buildings in Merton makes up around 81% of the borough's greenhouse gas inventory (the inventory includes all direct emissions within the borough and indirect emissions from grid-supplied energy).

This section of the Climate Strategy and Action Plan considers actions which reduce emissions from our building stock, by reducing our energy demand and moving towards low carbon sources of energy. Whilst the UK is generating more energy from renewable sources, the majority of our energy supply is still generated in ways that generate greenhouse gas emissions.

98% of all homes in Merton have gas heating and are responsible for the largest share of Merton's emissions. Well over half of Merton's 88,000 homes are not yet efficient enough to make the necessary move away from natural gas central heating to low carbon alternatives.

In order to be net-zero carbon, by 2050, all buildings must be highly energy efficient to reduce the amount of energy used, mainly by investing in loft, wall and floor insulation and replacing doors and windows. All homes, businesses and organisations must replace natural gas central heating and cooking with a low carbon alternative such as heat pumps and electric cookers.

What you can do

Step 1 - Take action to reduce energy use and emissions from your home or business

  • There are a wide range of things you can do to cut your energy use (as well as your energy bills!), from switching off appliances when you aren't using them, to turning your thermostat down a couple of degrees, or using energy efficient products like LEDs. Visit the Energy Saving Trust website for lots of tips on using less energy.
  • Save on hot water by having shorter showers, putting a lid on the pan when cooking, and not overfilling the kettle – heating water is one of the most energy-intensive activities in our homes.
  • Switch to a 100% green energy tariff or green energy provider – it may not cost you more than a standard tariff. London Power, founded by the Mayor of London, offers competitive green energy tariffs.
  • Retrofit your home/ business to make it more energy efficient – visit the Simple Energy Advice website and check out EcoFurb's Plan Builder to find out how.
  • Invest in low carbon heating or renewable energy for your home/ business – visit the Simple Energy Advice website to find out what technologies might work for you, and take part in the next round of the Mayor's Solar Together scheme to access high-quality and low-cost solar panels.

Step 2 - Find out what funding is available

  • Check out the Simple Energy Advice website for information on what funding is available.  
  • Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme - Homeowners and residential landlords may be eligible for funding towards the cost of installing energy efficiency improvements.
  • Government's Renewable Heat Incentive - homeowners and businesses may be eligible for payments for low carbon heat technologies up to March 2022.
  • Smart Export Guarantee – you may be eligible for payments for any renewable electricity that you generate that is put into the grid.

Step 3 - Get involved in our Climate Action Group

The Buildings and Energy sub-group will be looking at how we can reduce emissions from homes, businesses and other organisations.

If you're interested in developing a community energy project, you may be able to access funding from the Mayor's Community Energy Fund.

Step 4 - Spread the word

In order to become a net-zero carbon borough, everyone working or living in Merton is going to need to play their part. You can help spread the word to get your friends, family and co-workers thinking about how they can reduce their energy use and emissions from their homes or work places.

What we will do

  • Encourage homeowners, landlords, businesses and organisations to make their homes and premises more energy efficient and low carbon via our climate comms.
  • Support initiatives which help the able-to-pay to make their homes more energy efficient and maximise low carbon and renewable energy such as EcoFurb and Solar Together.
  • Ensure that new development in Merton is fit for the future through our Local Plan policies. In order to achieve our carbon reduction target as cost effectively as possible, all new development must be ultra-energy efficient and climate resilient, maximise low carbon and renewable energy, and be capable of operating at net zero carbon emissions without the need for expensive retrofit in later years. This is what our draft Climate Change policies are looking to achieve - you can find out more and provide your feedback here.
  • Engage with local housing providers to drive domestic retrofit in Merton's social housing stock.
  • Access national funding to support fuel poor households – Along with 12 other boroughs, Merton recently secured funding through the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme which will be delivered via the South London Healthy Homes project.
  • Ensure that all major Council regeneration schemes and developments are in keeping with our carbon reduction target where possible.
  • Identify any funding and skills gaps which must be filled in order to decarbonise Merton's building stock and lobby national government.
  • Develop an energy masterplan for the borough to support the transition in energy use.

Decentralised energy networks

Decentralised energy is produced close to where it will be used and distributed by a network of underground pipes. We are currently exploring how local heat and power could be generated and distributed around the borough using district heat networks.

In 2016, we appointed consultants AECOM to investigate the opportunity for delivering district heat networks in Merton. This work was funded by a grant from the Government's Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HNDU) and was completed over two phases. The first phase of local heat mapping and energy masterplanning was completed in January 2017 and the Network Development and Financial Modelling was completed in February 2018. The executive summaries and full reports are available for download.