Mapping out the path to net-zero emission homes

How do we get to net-zero emissions in our homes? We’ve worked with world-leading experts at Energy Systems Catapult to map out the journey to net-zero.

We’re supporting the transition to net-zero carbon dioxide emissions

Britain is committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. So are we.

Shell’s target is to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society’s progress in achieving the goal of the UN Paris Agreement on climate change.

That means net-zero emissions from our own operations and from the fuels and other energy products we sell. That includes the gas that heats our homes, the electricity that switches on our kettles, and the fuel that powers our cars.

How do we get the UK to net-zero? Households in Britain currently account for up to 40% of the country’s emissions1, so as part of the transition there needs to be a change in how Britain’s homes are heated and powered.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) to help understand the barriers to achieving net-zero emissions homes and set about overcoming them.

One thing is clear. It’ll need a joint effort from governments, businesses and the public to make the change.

We're up for the challenge.

Ramp up the shift to lower-carbon transport like EVs

There are currently 110,000 electric vehicles (EVs) sold in Britain each year. Shifting from fossil fuel to low-carbon vehicles will need, according to ESC, an increase to two million sold per year in the next 10 years. That’s a near 20-fold increase.

To help the transition, a combination of home charging points and a vastly increased network of public charging points will be crucial.

Shell is rolling out Shell Recharge charging at service stations and other locations, as well as a network of on street charging options, all powered by 100% renewable electricity.

We also offer a special EV tariff and award-winning home EV charging post offer that’s designed to help EV drivers.

Learn about our EV tariff

Make our homes smarter to cope with the increased demand for electricity

Powering our heating and cars with electricity will be a huge challenge for our infrastructure, especially as it will need to be renewably generated. By 2050, the difference between low and high electricity demand in the home could be eight times greater than it is today, putting extra strain on the grid.

Homes will need to get smart to play their part. Smarter homes may be able to take and store electricity when it’s cheap and plentiful for later use. They could even share excess power with neighbours.

Shell Energy is already working with sonnenBatterie, Europe’s leading home battery manufacturer and part of the Shell group, to offer a home battery system that stores excess solar energy from roof panels for use when it’s needed.

Learn about our Solar Storage tariff

Smarter homes start with smart meters. They use near real-time data to help the energy system better manage the supply and demand of energy, to reduce waste.

Learn about smart meters

Keep growing renewable electricity generation

The more Britain depends on electricity, the more of it we’ll need. It’s vital that Britain’s electricity continues to shift to low-carbon and renewable sources.

We support renewable electricity generation in Britain by supplying 100% renewable electricity tariffs as standard

Those tariffs are supported via REGO certificates, which match all the electricity our customers use with the same amount of renewable generation.

Much of this is managed by our Shell-owned sister company Limejump. They operate a ‘virtual power plant’ made up of more than 470 renewable generators (and counting) across Britain. They also manage large batteries that store power and help make sure we have enough power on the grid during peak times.

Shell has also committed to buy 20% of all the electricity generated by the world’s largest offshore wind farm off the coast of Yorkshire.

Moving to low-carbon heating for our homes

Nearly all homes in Britain today are heated with fossil fuels. Gas or oil boilers will need replacing with lower-carbon alternatives, such as electric heat pumps, hydrogen boilers or electric radiators.

The size of the task is huge. An average of one million low-carbon heating systems must be installed in homes every year between now and 2050. That’s a forty-fold increase on the current number.

Moving to low-carbon heating for our homes

What does our CEO think?

“Our target is to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society’s progress. That’s also in line with the government’s ambition for the UK to be a net-zero emissions country. To get there, we must help our customers choose an alternative way to heat their home or power their car whilst supporting the growth of renewable power generation.

We already supply renewable electricity as standard, help customers to offset their gas emissions with our Go Further tariffs, and offer EV packages and solar storage battery propositions.”

“But that’s just the start. We’ll be continuing to work with customers, partners and governments to make it easy and appealing for customers to choose low-carbon alternatives.”

Tony Keeling, CEO, Shell Energy Retail.

Want to know more?

You can find out more about the challenges – and solutions – in getting to net-zero below.

Want to know more?

Read the report in full

To read more of the report from ESC, commissioned by Shell Energy, you can download the executive summary (PDF, 320kb) or the report in full (PDF, 1.2Mb).

Read the report in full