The UK has set the ambitious target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
It’s a huge task that will require reform in a large number of areas. However, with around 15% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions attributed to residential buildings, it is one that certainly calls for a rethink in how we heat our homes.
Nu-Heat MD David Roberts gives his views about the government’s new 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution:
1. REDUCE the temperature of heating systems installed in the UK.
The Future Homes Standard talks about flow temperatures of 55 degrees, but this doesn’t go far enough. Turning down the heat to 45 degrees saves a further 0.5 tonne CO2 per property and across 250,000 new build homes per year, if even half have underfloor heating systems and air source heat pumps installed, those properties would save an additional 55,000 tonnes of CO2 over 18 years! Low temperature heating, like underfloor, will give us this by default. As BEIS recognise, hydrogen-heating, electric heat pumps and bioenergy boilers are likely to all play a role in the decarbonisation of heat. The move to low-temperature systems will improve the efficiency of all technology options and therefore the costs of the energy transition.
2. SUPPORT installers through clear standards and training.
We’ve got an amazing plumbing and heating trade in the UK – we trust them in heating in our homes. The plan talks of 50,000 new jobs, but what is really needed is government support for the 130,000+ Gas Safe Registered installers we’ve already got.
We need to help them make the transition from gas to heat pumps through funding for training, regulation, and access to support schemes, like the one Nu-Heat provides.
We’ll need qualified people to both install, service and maintain these low carbon systems.
3. EDUCATE a fabric first approach
Missed opportunities in building regulations mean that high temperature heating systems are being installed in homes that just don’t need them. It’s essential that both the market and consumer understand the need to wrap and then heat. A fabric first approach to both new builds and renovations.
Getting supportive regulation for heat pumps in new-build properties right is important, as this is where the technology is immediately cheapest to install and typically most cost-effective. A thriving mass-market for heat pumps needs a healthy installer-base and supply chain to sell renewable heating technologies and install systems. The heat pump industry sees new-build properties as an important first step for wider adoption of the technology in the UK.
Can we do it though? I think we can.
Businesses, families and governments across the globe throughout this Covid-19 pandemic have proved how good we can be at taking action in crisis and just how much can be achieved in a small amount of time.
Before we entered this public health crisis we were – and still are – in the midst of a climate emergency.
As a nation now is the time to turn our attention towards decarbonising heat in our homes.
The biggest challenge? This has to be building a trained and certified low carbon heating workforce who are strong enough in number to meet the demand and confident enough to grow the public’s trust and we at Nu-Heat are going to do everything we can to help to make this happen.