The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is right to propose a ban on gas boilers in new homes by 2025, says heat network specialist Switch2 Energy.
“Heating homes with individual gas boilers, where high efficiency heat networks or lower carbon solutions are viable, is a nail in the coffin for the environment”, says Richard Slee, CEO of Switch2.
“We welcome the CCC’s call for the greater role of heat networks in higher density housing. It stands to reason that a heat network’s central boiler plant is far more efficient than using lots of individual gas boilers, especially when that energy is generated locally using Combined Heat and Power (CHP), or waste heat or renewables, where the carbon savings are even better.
“Another advantage of a heat network is that it’s relatively easy to upgrade them to accommodate cleaner new fuel technologies, such as hydrogen and heat pumps. ”
In its new report ‘UK housing: Fit for the future?’, the CCC says that the UK Government must act now to improve the quality of UK homes to avoid missing legally-binding climate change targets.
According to CCC statistics, emissions reductions from the UK’s 29 million homes have stalled, while energy use in homes – which accounts for 14% of total UK emissions – increased between 2016 and 2017.
The CCC has made a series of proposals for decarbonising homes, including wider deployment of heat networks; improving and enforcing stricter building design standards; retrofitting energy efficiency measures, and transitioning to low carbon and renewable energy technologies.
Richard Slee continued: “The government has helped the UK make excellent progress in decarbonising its power supply: now it’s time to focus on the tougher challenge of heat. District and community heating schemes have a massive role to play in providing greener, more affordable and secure heat supplies.
“Rapid growth is underway in the UK heat network sector – assisted by the government’s £320 million Heat Network Investment Project. There are currently around 17,000 district and community energy schemes, but that represents just 2% of the UK heat supply. Government research suggests that 14-20% of the UK heat demand could be met by heat networks by 2030 and 43% by 2050, but this will take concerted effort by both policy makers and the housing and district energy sectors.”
He added: “There are many great examples of best practice in heat network design and operation across the UK. Moves to regulate the industry are in process, but organisations such as the Heat Trust and Heat Network Task Force, of which Switch2 are founding members, are driving progress and raising standards. In addition, the Heat Networks: Code of Practice, developed by CIBSE and the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), is providing a blueprint for excellence in heat network development.