Carbon footprints, green initiatives and energy efficiency have become key concerns in the UK recently, for both large-scale organisations and the individual citizen, as the effects of a growing global climate emergency continue to grow. World governments have been put under increasing pressure to mitigate the impact of climate change, as they announce new plans and initiatives to curb carbon emissions in the short term – with a view to eliminating them by 2050.
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New Government Strategy for Energy Efficiency in Homes
Government strategy is wide-ranging, with proposals for a ban on the sale of new fossil-fuelled vehicles by 2030 and a pivot to green solutions for electricity. However, there have also been recently announced initiatives which seek to significantly increase the energy efficiency of the average home by 2035. The plans and considerations come in the form of the Heat and Buildings Strategy, a broad-strokes exploration of the various ways in which efficiency can be increased – and reliance on fossil fuels decreased overall.
What Does the Heat and Buildings Strategy Include?
One of the bigger takeaways from the Heat and Buildings Strategy is the intention to introduce new legislation, banning the sale and installation of new natural gas boilers in homes. More specifically, plans are fleshed out regarding a complete ban on new gas boiler installations by 2035, with a slow phasing-out beginning as soon as 2025.
The potential changes are not set to threaten existing central heating set-ups, nor are they destined to phase a workforce out of their jobs; many workers are already upskilling with future energy directives in mind, with engineers and installers being trained in preparation for new alternatives to natural gas boilers and gas-reliant central heating. But what exactly are the alternatives to gas boilers?
Pivoting to Heat Pumps
While the new Strategy document is not prescriptive in its recommendations for the future of energy in the UK, there are some standout alternatives which are already receiving increased demand – and one alternative in particular which the Strategy champions: heat pumps.
Heat pumps are a form of heat transfer technology, where heat energy is harvested from an external source and used to heat water in a building. The most common commercially available heat pump solutions are air source heat pumps, which extract thermal energy from outside air by capturing it in a thermally conductive fluid. The fluid is then passed through a heat exchanger to transfer said thermal energy to water.
The Heat and Buildings Strategy named air source heat pumps as a viable alternative, and recommending funding to increase the likelihood of consumer uptake. The government followed through on the Strategy’s recommendations in March this year, with the formal announcement of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme offers a flat £5,000 towards the cost of installing an energy-efficient alternative, including air source heat pumps and biomass boilers.