William Eichler 23 July 2021

Decarbonising your housing stock with heat pumps

Decarbonising your housing stock with heat pumps image

Climate change is a slow moving catastrophe. However, governments and businesses have begun to recognise that something has to be done to stop it: doing nothing is not an option. To this end, the UK Government has committed to achieving net zero by 2050, which means the country’s carbon emissions have to be cut dramatically.

The UK’s electricity supply has cut its carbon emissions by an impressive 50% in 10 years. Heat though decarbonise. Currently, around 80% of homes are heated by gas. The Future Homes Standard will lead to fossil fuels being phased out, but there is some way to go. To help tackle this complex challenge, the Green Housing Forum (GHF) recently held a webinar to update social housing professionals on the latest Government funding available for delivering low carbon schemes.

Sponsored by Daikin, the manufacturer of high quality air source heat pumps, the GHF opened with a talk from James Barnes, the Sustainable Warmth Policy Lead at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Mr Barnes was, as he explained, ‘raising awareness’ of the Sustainable Warmth Competition, which will award funding to local authorities to help them upgrade energy inefficient homes of low income households in England.

The Sustainable Warmth Competition brings together two fuel poverty schemes for England: Local Authority Delivery Phase 3 (LAD3) and Home Upgrade Grant Phase 1 (HUG1). LAD3 makes £200m available to support low-income households heated by mains gas. This follows LAD Phases 1 and 2 and has the same eligibility rules. The main exception is the exclusion of off gas grid homes. HUG1 will see £150m available to provide energy efficiency and low carbon heating upgrades to the worst performing, low-income, off gas grid homes.

Delivery of these schemes will be through local authorities from early 2022 through to March 2023 and all applications need to be submitted by 4 August.

One solution local authorities and social housing professionals can use to help decarbonise their housing stock is a heat pump. And the government has recognised that. Current targets are for 600,000 heat pumps to be installed per year by 2028, increasing to one million per year by 2030.

There were 35,000 heat pumps installed in homes the UK last year – a long way off what is required. In his talk at the recent GHF, Nick Huston, Future Energy Business Manager, Daikin UK, set out the advantages of heat pumps over other technologies, and what Daikin can do to support local authorities.

So why use heat pumps? The Government is encouraging a move away from gas boilers to low carbon, renewable heating, and heat pumps are the ideal way to go. They reduce carbon emissions, lower fuel bills, reduce fuel poverty levels, and are easy to install without planning permission. They are versatile and can fit any application, and funding currently is also not a problem.

Referring to the funding opportunities Mr Barnes outlined, Mr Huston pointed out, ‘There’s an awful lot of funding around at the moment coming out of Government, which is brilliant.’ Now is the ideal time to purchase heat pumps and Daikin can provide all the support local authorities and housing providers might need, from help with determining which funding pots are best to achieve their goals, to support in identifying eligible properties, helping to prepare funding bids, recruiting installers, engaging and consulting with residents and much more.

The energy provider E-ON can also support local authorities interested in heat pumps. The final speaker in the webinar was Ian Cartledge, E-ON’s Business Development Manager. Mr Cartledge outlined how E-ON can help with the upfront development of a heat pump scheme, though to ongoing service delivery and management. As Mr Cartledge explained, ‘From a delivery perspective, it’s a fully managed service that we offer.’

For more information and to find out you can decarbonise your housing stock with heat pumps, contact events@greenhousingforum.co.uk.

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