Our homes are responsible for 24% of the world’s final energy demand. This amounts to 17% of global CO2 emissions. But that number doesn’t tell us the home’s hidden contribution to systems such as transport, agriculture, deforestation or industry.

In fact, each home represents a much wider emissions impact. That’s because the home sits at a unique intersection of many systems which support the fast-growing consumption of food, power, heating, cooling, electronics, household appliances and much more – all of which are driving climate change.

By showing how the home is connected to these systems, The Climate Group’s project Home2025 identifies new opportunities for companies and governments to improve efficiencies and provide more choice to residents. This enables them to change the wider systems they are part of. Together, businesses, governments and customers can reduce global emissions on a much bigger scale than they could ever achieve on their own.

  • Introduction: Why the world needs Home2025

    Action to help tackle climate change at home has traditionally been seen as limited to switching to more efficient lightbulbs or turning the heating down. It can be frustrating for conscious consumers to feel they have no choice but to add to rising GHG emissions through their everyday actions. And for the majority who have other pressing concerns, choosing to benefit the environment at a high cost or inconvenience is simply not an option.

    Yet globally, 17% of carbon dioxide emissions come from homes. And as total population grows – in particular the global middle class – so will energy demand, the main driver of emissions. Homes in the US consume double the amount of energy as homes in Europe, and 10 times that of Chinese homes. While OECD and transition economies have not seen huge per capita growth in final energy demand, Asia, Africa and Latin America are still experiencing growth. Dealing with mass consumption from rapidly expanding economies remains crucial to climate change mitigation.

    At the global climate talks in Paris in 2015, world leaders agreed on an impressive commitment to reduce emissions. But now we must find transformative ways to deliver existing and new commitments in the next decade – when emissions must be limited in order to avoid the worst impacts of runaway climate change.

    We must rethink the systems that support mass consumption. New efficient models such as the ‘circular economy’ are much needed to rapidly decarbonize our lives. This challenge isn’t an Apollo mission – putting one man on the moon. We just need to drive forward a set of solutions to allow the 8 billion people who will live on this planet by 2025, to collectively begin creating a low carbon future. Today.

  • The power of change

    Home2025 showcases how our global economy is poised for a positive shift in the power of the consumer. Through a series of case studies, collaborations, interviews and blogs, we will highlight how new business models are creating choices for consumers that are transforming behaviour – and driving wider industry changes. If scaled up, these changes could rapidly decarbonize our economies. And today, these choices are more convenient, cost-effective and desirable for consumers than ever before.

    There are many examples of system changes that are already underway around the world. Car sharing is just one. Pioneers like Zipcar have led the way for digital ride-sharing solutions like Uber. Already, the carbon impact of owning versus sharing a car is clear. One estimate shows that for every vehicle in a car-sharing fleet, automakers will lose 32 vehicle sales. This signals a clear path to a ‘peak car’ era.

    As car sharing lowers sales of internal combustion engine vehicles – which lose 90% of energy in combustion of gas/petrol – it also brings bigger changes to the auto industry. As well as driving consumer choices toward different, more efficient vehicles such as electric motors, it also enables more accurate demand predictions for roads or public transport. This in turn reduces system-wide emissions from transportation.

    Another example of how new business models are enabling consumer choices to change the system itself comes from Swedish furniture giant IKEA. Its kitchen department has introduced clear fridges to avoid hidden food, which leads to food waste. Tempus Energy in the UK is also driving wider positive impacts through consumption. The electric utility company optimizes costs across the entire electricity system to ensure its retail customers consume renewable, lowest cost electricity first – allowing higher priced fossil fuel consumption as a last resort.

    But to benefit most from spearheading such innovative models, businesses must be flexible – because it is central to system change. More options for when and how we consume electricity enables greatly increased renewables on the grid. Using our homes as work spaces enables travel and office energy savings. And alternative transport modes enables lowest cost, efficient movement of people and goods.

  • Business innovation

    These flexible new business models, partnerships and campaigns are allowing efficiency across systems. Key examples of trends to watch include:

    • Service or pay-as-you-go models: To overcome the high up-front costs and complexities of ‘green’ retrofitting, simple payment solutions to ensure homes can be more energy efficient, get solar panels installed or use the latest kitchen technologies are crucial for reaching mass markets.
    • Peer-to-peer models: ‘Sharing economy’ or ‘collaborative economy’ describes a model that allows for the optimal use of resources, by creating a market incentive for opening up excess capacity. As well as saving energy, empty cars (BlaBlaCar) or flats (Airbnb) are also business opportunities.
    • Platforms to aggregate demand: Businesses that allow cost savings based on bulk buying for a large swathe of customers enable cheaper and faster routes to otherwise expensive environmental solutions, such as EnergieSprong’s refurbishment platform.
    • Next-life models: Companies that choose to see waste as a resource, or look at their own impacts from ‘cradle-to-grave’ are now more mainstream than ever. Recycling, upcycling and renovations are industries that will grow as consumption does.

    And there are many others system changes to come before 2025. As we all know, Google and Twitter were not around 10 or 15 years ago. A lot can change in a decade. With the environmental benefits already beginning to be felt, it’s clear that even more potential will be unlocked as technologies advance – enabling lower energy consumption of our devices, our homes, our economies and most importantly, our lives.

    This shift for corporates and policymakers at all levels signals a completely new way to think about innovation in tackling climate change. The approaches showcased by Home2025 allow the greatest number of people as possible – businesses, consumers and citizens – to become part of the solution. New business models, products and services enable behavior change, rapid retrofits and the remaking of entire industries. This is about efficiently optimizing the systems around us to create better, smarter, low carbonliving spaces for the 8 billion people on Earth. And it starts with the home. 


Join in the conversation on Twitter using #Home2025.
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