Heat and Buildings Strategy – reactive comment

Government needs to focus on low-carbon innovation to decarbonise the UK’s housing stock. Commenting on the government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, Oliver Baker, CEO at Ambion Heating, comments:

“The long-awaited Heat and Buildings Strategy outlines somewhat modest plans to decarbonise the UK’s housing stock, although the commitment for all new heating systems to be low-carbon by 2035 is obviously a welcome move. However, in reality, the new funding will only cover around 30,000 heat pumps a year (for three years) compared with the 1.5 million gas boilers to replace each year.  So, it is clear that this policy announcement only scratches the surface and we still have a long way to go to deliver net zero in our homes.

“The market knows that heat pumps are not a one-size-fits-all solution. The UK has a hugely diverse range of housing stock and research has shown that heat pumps aren’t feasible for around 40% of properties, representing 8 to 12 million homes. Many of these homes will be social housing which therefore need alternative super-efficient electric heating technologies to achieve net zero without plunging residents into fuel poverty.

“On a positive note, the government has acknowledged that a mix of new, low-carbon heating solutions will be required for different property types in different parts of the country.  These need to include electric systems which provide heat-pump levels of energy efficiency but at lower cost and across all house types. Computer-controlled infrared (CCIR) is one such technology.

“We see the proposals to move green surcharges from electricity to gas as a game-changer for all electric heating systems. It proves that the future of low-carbon heating is electric, and we will be responding to the call for evidence when it is released.

“So, while there are many things to welcome, the government needs to ensure its heating strategy encourages low-carbon heating innovation, so that there are solutions for everyone, not just the larger more modern houses which are appropriate for ASHPs.”