With the recent introduction of the Government’s Heat & Buildings Strategy and lots of confusion around what’s in and what’s out, we spoke to our operations director, Vic Wheeler, to give us a bit of clarity into the options that exist for the future of home heating.
We have all seen the headlines recently. And to say they have caused a bit of a stir is an understatement. But this isn’t new news. This has been on the agenda for years. And I for one, am really pleased that the spotlight is now shining on our industry.
However, the information that is out there at the moment is so confusing. Are gas boilers going to be banned by 2025? Well, if I had a pound for every customer that came to us asking this and confused about what is best for their heating system, then we could probably solve the energy crisis ourselves!
While there are still a lot of unknowns about at the minute, I wanted to share our understanding on what is happening so that you know that we, at Gregor Heating are still going to be the number one choice for your heating upgrade.
Climate change and tackling your carbon footprint
As you are probably already aware, fossil fuels produce by-products such as carbon dioxide (CO2) which has negative impact on the environment. The way we heat our homes in the UK with fossil fuel burning appliances such as natural gas, oil and LPG all produce CO2 and collectively make up around a third of all the CO2 produced.
CO2 is big contributor to climate change and our government have pledged to tackle this by making the UK a net zero country by 2050. This is good and there is no doubt that something needs to be done, NOW. We can all play our part in choosing greener and better heating solutions, and it’s not just about heating, but lifestyle choices such as how we travel and choose to live. After all, it is the action we take now, which we will be judged on by our children and their children’s children.
What are the big heating trends for the future?
Well, businesses and manufacturers have seen this coming for a while. The introduction to electrified rail, the development of electric cars and more commonly applicable in the heating industry – Renewable Energy – Solar, Heat Pumps etc are all good indicators of trying to find solutions to the carbon issue.
All of these elements are not new technologies; they have been evolving for the last decade in preparation for this moment. We just needed our leaders to get behind it. But for now, as far as we can see, there are three big trends for decarbonising our heating systems in the UK. These are:
- Heat pumps
- Heat networks – i.e. commercial centralised systems
- Hydrogen boilers roll out
There are other options available, such as electric boilers – *read our post here* but these are the three main talking points. So, let’s break these down:
- Heat Pumps
This one is causing a stir at the moment and is definitely a hot topic, with the government pledging 600,000 heat pumps to be installed by 2028 and, from April 2022, offering homeowners a £5,000 grant to help with the installation of the technology.
A heat pump works by absorbing the heat from the air (or ground) and compressing it with a refrigerant gas. We have been installing heat pumps for customers for over ten years and know the market well. Many of which have seen the benefits. This technology is quickly evolving and the products on the market now are fantastic. We have a dedicated team of experts who can guide you through this. This technology is great if you live in an area off of the gas grid. It is cheaper to run than oil and if your home is well insulated this will be an ideal venture for you. Especially if you would like to marry it up to other technology such as solar.
- Heat networks
A heat network or more commonly known as ‘district heating system’ is taking old technology and bringing it more into the forefront of modern technology. So, blocks of flats will have a large heating system centralised to evenly distribute heating. This will play a big part in decarbonising the UK. And is how most of the new build developments are providing heating solutions (i.e. no gas boilers).
This is not just limited to flats; we will begin to see more heat network systems popping up in our towns and cities using technologies such as combined heat and power (CHP) to provide a heating source as well as electricity through a gas fired engine.
Heating will be provided by heat interface units (HIU’s). Read our case study from a few years ago where we installed a centralised plant room at the iconic Cwmbran Tower. The Heat Network Delivery Unit (HNDU) was formed in 2013 and will address the capacity and capability challenges with Local Authorities to the heat network roll out.
We have worked alongside consultants, councils and housing associations for years on district heating systems so we are happy to assist on any projects in relation to this.
Last and by no means least, Hydrogen. It is being talked about a lot. (read our blog on it). And for the 24.8 million boilers currently installed in the UK this will be the biggest and most effective means of decarbonising a single, privately owned heating system.
A hydrogen boiler will work in the same way as your boiler does today. Just with a different fuel. It will also look just like your boiler so minimal alterations will be needed to your home.
There is some really good news for consumers of gas, especially if your boiler is on its “last legs” and you’re concerned that in a few years you won’t be able to get a gas boiler. Well, I will dispel that myth for you now and say that it is simply not true.
And now is a good time as any to upgrade your boiler and you will be safe in the knowledge that this will be absolutely fine for all of its working life. But you will be on the transition to net zero with all the boilers we install being hydrogen ready.
And finally the last couple of questions on everyone’s lips…
Are gas boilers going to be banned in 2025. In short… no.
Do you need to worry that your boiler won’t be fit for purpose in a few years? No.
What is going to happen to your home heating in 2025? Not much. This only affects new build homes which will all have a net zero heating system.
So what does the future hold?
As we move together through this exciting transition we will keep you updated on the best options available to you. Always bear in mind finding the right heating solution depends on many factors such as; space, access to power, budget etc.
Our goal, as ever, remains being the best partner to work with to find the smartest way to heat your home, in whatever way that may be.
So if do have any questions or would like to discuss anything further, then we are on hand to help with this too.