What do we know about the Heat and Buildings Strategy so far

It’s been a long time coming, but last week the Government finally announced it’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, mapping the pathway to decarbonise the UK’s homes and buildings.

The Strategy outlines the Government’s ambitions for the move from fossil fuel powered heating and hot water to low carbon technologies.

So, what are the main messages from this document?

Developing a UK heat pump market

It’s clear that heat pumps are seen as an immediate solution to decarbonising many homes.

The 600,000 per year install rate by 2028 that was first seen in the 10 Point Plan and Energy White Paper published in 2020 is repeated multiple times.

This is the minimum number of heat pumps needed to achieve Net Zero, even if hydrogen boilers become an option, and it’s anticipated that 50% will be in new homes built to the Future Homes Standard.

The document outlines how heat pumps are seen as a solution for off-grid properties, new build homes and the homes of early adopters who want to take advantage of the new Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

This £450 million Scheme replaces the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive and will provide approximately 30,000 grants worth £5,000 each over three years.

The strategy is that the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, alongside the various funding pathways for social housing and low-income households, and the regulations driving uptake in new builds, will together combine to increase the UK heat pump market.

Innovation and ambition

In order to increase heat pump adoption, it is clearly acknowledged that capital, install and running costs must fall. That will be supported by a series of measures including the £60 million Heat Pump Ready innovation programme.

And the latest announcement also includes an ambition to reduce the price of electricity over the next decade by shifting levies away from electricity to gas, helping reduce heat pump running costs, with a further announcement expected on this next year

Shaun Edwards, chief executive, Groupe Atlantic UK, ROI & North America, said:

“This commitment from the UK government allows Ideal Heating to continue investment in UK heat pump R&D facilities and skills, as well as additional manufacturing capacity, ensuring we meet the specific demands of UK homes and installers whilst strengthening the local supply chain.

As a manufacturer of multiple heating technologies including heat pumps, we feel we are in an excellent position to support our customers as the market transitions to lower carbon heating solutions.”

What about Hydrogen?

Hydrogen has huge potential to provide a low carbon solution for properties on the gas grid. But it’s clear there is more work to be done to understand the feasibility and cost effectiveness of hydrogen heating, including scaling up production and the infrastructure for its transmission, distribution and storage.

There is a commitment to continue ongoing hydrogen trials with a decision on 20% hydrogen blending into the grid due in 2023 and on 100% hydrogen in 2026.

At Ideal Heating, our domestic gas boilers are ready for a 20% blend of hydrogen today and our R&D team in Hull are already working on the next generation of hydrogen ready boilers.

The approach for householders

The document stresses that no one is going to be forced to remove their gas boiler and replace it with a heat pump.

In this first three year phase of activity, funding is targeted at the least energy efficient homes and the fuel poor through local authority funding, and also homeowners, who want to take advantage of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

There is a desire to use existing replacement cycles of heating appliances and other natural trigger points such as home renovations to encourage the upgrade of heating systems.

At Ideal Heating, we believe we are perfectly positioned to help our customers increase the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon emissions of their heating systems.

This can be done in gradual steps, like installing a high efficiency gas boiler with a smart control to replace an old standard efficiency boiler, or by installing one of our low carbon heat pumps.

Whatever the route taken, our technical experts, support team and customer service centre are ready to provide the support needed on this journey.

More details of the Heat and Buildings Strategy will be made available in due course, so keep coming back to the Ideal Heating blog for more information and insights.