Heat pumps are "unsuitable for poorly insulated properties" – says Neil Schofield

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recently delivered its progress report on the Government’s attempts to deliver a carbon-free future. Neil Schofield is Head of Government and External Affairs for Worcester, Bosch Group shares his experiences talking to the CCC about the effectiveness of heat pumps.
I’ve been upsetting people. It comes with the territory when you’re a columnist, but recently I’ve outdone myself.
I’ve upset the heat pump industry and the Committee for Climate Change (CCC). Not bad with only 300 words a month!
The cause is my position on heat pumps, namely that unless significant modifications are made to the heating system or the insulation, they are unsuitable for poorly insulated properties.
I was summoned to a meeting with the Committee and the offending column was waved at me. It was the start of a spirited meeting.
The first attack was that their desktop modelling says they can work in properties with a rating of D or below.
I parried, we’ve done our own research too and beg to differ.
Undeterred the CCC defended the model (“It was created by Imperial College”) and I had a vested interest in boilers.
Sensing an opening, I went for the ‘coup de grace’. “Actually, we’re one of the biggest heat pump manufacturers in Europe. We’ve even advertised them on TV.”
CCC member: “But our model….”
It was like “Computer says No” off Little Britain. I cut him off: “Look, I’m sure it’s a lovely model but we’ve sold heat pumps to owners of real houses, who even against our advice were hell bent on having one. Only to take them out 12 months later because of either insufficient heat, high running costs or both”.
Silence.
I offered an olive branch: “What might work is a hybrid solution. Heat pump for milder weather with the back-up of a boiler when it’s really cold.”
That got their attention, as it should, as a potential solution for half a million properties that are off-grid with poor insulation.
So, I’d like to call a truce. I’m not anti-heat pump, but I don’t think they’re the solution on their own for 26 million UK homes.
Hybrids on the other hand might be for some properties.

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