After months of anticipation, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s long-awaited Heat and Buildings Strategy has finally launched this October. The centrepiece of the development is the £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which will allow homeowners to apply for £5 – 6K grants to install heat pumps from April 2022.
While this is a really positive development regarding the uptake of greener technology, at £5 – 6K per pump, scope is only provided for a maximum 90,000 installations. The UK is currently installing roughly 35,000 each year, so we need to be far more ambitious if we are to reach the Prime Minister’s target of 600,000 heat pumps per annum by 2028.
The Government’s aim here is to reduce the cost of heat pumps by 20 – 25% between now and 2025. However, the number of trained installers and manufacturing costs are likely to be a challenge here. With this in mind, locally manufactured low-carbon solutions, such as REHAU’s RAUVITHERM pipe, will be key to helping this scheme achieve success.
District heating networks also play a prominent role in the Government’s plans, with a £338 million investment in the Heat Network Transformation Programme set to take place between 2022 and 2025. This investment and the Boiler Upgrade Scheme is of even greater importance given that the Future Homes Standard is set to ban gas boilers in new build properties from 2025, with low-carbon alternatives such as heat pumps and district heating networks expected to pick up the slack. This has also led to an increased demand for energy-efficient heat distribution solutions such as underfloor heating and Thermally Activated Building Structures (TABS), which make use of a building’s natural composition to both heat and cool.
With the decision on hydrogen’s future being pushed back to 2026, there is a greater need than ever to evaluate our path to net zero. The launch of the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy is a vital step in this journey, but cannot bear the load of this challenge alone. Only through a multi-faceted approach than takes advantage of all of the initiatives available will we achieve a net zero Britain.”