MPs, backed by key members of the heating and plumbing industry, are calling on the Government to “step on the gas” and prioritise policies that promote low carbon heating technologies.
A new report backed by MPs and launched by Minister for Climate Change Lord Duncan calls for an urgent Green Heat Roadmap by 2020 to scale low carbon heating technologies and help Britain’s homeowners access the advice they need to take smarter greener choices on heating their homes.
The three-year study by UK think-tank Policy Connect warns that the UK will miss its 2050 net-zero climate target “unless radical changes in housing policy, energy policy and climate policy are prioritised”.
- New report warns that continuing to heat 27 million homes with fossil fuels threatens the UK’s 2050 net-zero carbon target and clean air goals
- Most MPs do not see ‘green heat’ as policy priority for climate; consumers also ‘in the dark’ on the environmental impact of heating their homes and what to do about it
- MPs say government must ‘step on the gas’ to scale ‘green heat’ innovation and help households control their heating bills, cut carbon and boost home comfort
UK homes are primarily heated by fossil fuels and contribute 13% of UK’s carbon footprint (equivalent to all the UK’s 31m cars). The report says this is incompatible with UK climate legislation targeting net-zero economy by 2050. New polling finds that consumers are open to cleaner greener ways to heat their homes into the future but that they are “still in the dark about smarter, greener heating solutions and lack access to independent advice to help them make better decisions for their homes, pockets and the planet”.
The report – Uncomfortable Home Truths: why Britain urgently needs a low carbon heat strategy – says a bold new national roadmap is needed by 2020 which puts consumers and households at the heart of a revolution in green heat innovation. It recommends the creation of an Olympic-style delivery body to catalyse and coordinate regional innovation and local leadership, tailored to different parts of the UK and the nation’s diverse housing stock.
Accelerating radical innovation in green heat includes piloting and scaling new home and district heating solutions (CHP, greener gas systems, heat pumps, smart controls, infrared and low carbon electric heating), trialling new data and payment models (such as ‘heat as a service’) and bolstering grid resilience to cope with increasing low carbon supply and flexible demand. MPs say the 2020 roadmap should “boost green UK jobs and help consumers to stay warm, control their energy bills and do the right thing for the planet”.
Jonathan Shaw, chief executive of Policy Connect, said: “As more of us flick on our home heating this month, the question of how we heat British homes into the future without breaking the bank or Britain’s carbon budget is becoming a national emergency. Most of us want to do the right thing for the planet, but are in the dark about where to start when it comes to heating our own homes. Consumers need a strong government vision and access to independent advice to help them make smarter, greener choices on new home heating systems that will give them better control over their bills, their carbon and their comfort.”
Joanna Furtado, Sustainability Manager at Policy Connect and lead author said: “The next five years are critical for heat decarbonisation in new and existing homes and meeting our climate targets. We need to spark a national conversation on heat as MPs and consumers are still in the dark on the carbon and cost savings greener home heat solutions could offer.”
Key Findings for UK Policymakers:
- Continuing to heat Britain’s 27 million homes with fossil fuels threatens to undermine the UK’s 2050 net-zero carbon legislation and clean air goals
- The transition to low carbon heat must put consumers first. Consumers are open to smarter greener heating solutions but are ‘in the dark’ about new technologies and lack access to independent advice they need to make better choices for their homes and the planet
- A national low-carbon heat roadmap is needed by 2020: The next five years are critical in deciding the future of heat in the UK. Advances in green heat innovation around Britain are helping build momentum and should inform a comprehensive government policy strategy by 2025
- A central Olympic-style delivery body is needed to coordinate the national transition to low carbon heat for homes, and to incentivise and scale regional and local leadership
- Investment in re-training and re-skilling the nation’s gas heating engineers and boiler installers in new low carbon technology solutions for a ‘just’ transition
Welcoming the new report, Alan Whitehead MP, Shadow Labour Minister for Energy and Climate Change said: “This report shows we have just five years to trial and scale new macro and micro solutions for our gas grid and home heating systems to keep costs and carbon down. It’s a welcome wake up call for politicians, utilities, customers, planners and house-builders that we all need to work together on long-term policy framework that puts households first, cuts emissions, cuts bills and keeps British homes warm.”
Alan Brown MP, SNP Westminster Energy & Transport Spokesperson said: “The millions of fuel-poor households must benefit first from the UK’s energy transition. Social housing should be at the vanguard in trialling new advances energy efficiency, low carbon gas, electric, hybrid and gas-free heating solutions, CHP, district heating and payment innovations. Policies must create a level playing field and kick-start market engagement to ensure reliable, equitable and affordable access to low carbon heating for our most vulnerable homes, across the country.”
Jeff House, Head of External Affairs, Baxi Heating UK commented: “It is essential that we decarbonise heat as part of the transition to a net-zero economy and to meet our legislated emissions targets. National and local policy is of critical importance. However, the consumer must be in the driving seat so they can make informed choices on adopting innovation that can change the way we heat and power our homes whilst protecting the planet.”
Mike Foster, Chief Executive of Energy Utilities Alliance, said: “We need to act now, we must support households and provide attractive and affordable low carbon heating whilst protecting those in fuel poverty. To do this we need to utilise the wealth of knowledge across the industry and deploy a driving force of governance to manage and deliver affordable, secure and low carbon heat.”