What does Net Zero look like?

What Does Net Zero Look Like?

The Scottish Government has a target for Scotland to be net zero by 2045. But what does it actually mean? And what can we do to help Scotland on its journey?

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Written by Home Energy Scotland
Published February 2024

What does Net Zero mean and what can we do to help achieve it? 

The Scottish Government has a target for Scotland to achieve net zero status by 2045. 

But what does net zero actually mean? And what can we do to help Scotland complete its journey to net zero?

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What is net zero?

Net zero means that the amount of greenhouse gases – most significantly carbon dioxide (CO2) – which human activity puts into the atmosphere (emissions), is the same as the amount of greenhouse gases we remove from the atmosphere. 

Net zero is the stage at which global warming stops, which is why it's so important for governments, communities, and individuals to commit to policies, activity, and changes in lifestyle that will help us achieve net zero.

What can we do to support progress towards net zero?

We are all being urged - and increasingly offered incentives - to make changes to how we live and work that reduce our energy use, thereby reducing our emissions. 

Small changes in daily routines and habits can have a big impact on Scotland’s journey to net zero. What can you do to embrace the direction of travel and accelerate progress? Read on for some simple suggestions.

Choose green transport options for some journeys

Transport is Scotland’s biggest climate impactor. You might be surprised to learn how many ways there are to change your habits and reduce your transport emissions quickly and effectively. For example:

  • replace some car journeys with walking or cycling
  • use online options for shopping, working, and other activities

Reducing car use in favour of public transport or active travel are two ways to support net zero. Switching to an electric vehicle is another possibility and by 2030 new petrol and diesel cars will likely be banned.

Save energy at home and stay warm for less

Nearly a quarter of Scotland’s carbon emissions are generated by how we heat our homes and workplaces. Burning oil or gas to heat the water in our radiators is part of the problem, and the age of many properties means they are less energy efficient and poorly insulated. These factors combine to make home heating an area with lots of potential for energy saving, cost cutting, and carbon footprint reduction.

Here are some examples of simple actions you can take to achieve all three:

  • turn your thermostat down by one degree (and save up to £60 a year)
  • don’t leave appliances on standby – turn them off at the wall
  • change your shower head for a more efficient one that reduces the amount of water you use.

You can also make bigger changes, like replacing your heating system with a low or zero emission system, or insulating your home effectively. The Scottish Government has a range of funding and support in place to help you make these changes. 

Scotland is on a net zero journey with policies and funding in place to support progress. We can all take simple and effective action to reduce our energy use and maximise our individual contribution to achieving this essential target. Not only will it save the planet, it’ll also save you money too. 

Let’s Do Net Zero - take your first steps by calling Home Energy Scotland free on 0808 808 2282. Our lines are open Monday – Friday, 8am – 8pm, and Saturday 9am – 5pm.

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What does Net Zero look like?

We hear the term 'net zero' a lot - but what does it actually mean?