Reducing the carbon footprint of heating your house.

The problem

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has said that to meet net zero, the UK’s building stock needs to be nearly completely decarbonised by 2050. The CCC has repeatedly warned that energy efficiency needs addressing immediately if the UK is to meet its Fourth (2023 to 2027) and Fifth (2028 to 2032) Carbon Budgets.

Despite this, the government has remained technology agnostic and toyed with various funding streams for decarbonisation which have triggered unintended consequences in the market and resulted in a patchwork of renewable tech that fails to meet the scale or scope of the challenge and does not deliver on the “most effective and cheapest total-system-cost approach to decarbonising the energy system” requirement.

In order to deliver net zero by 2050 we need to adopt the cheapest and most effective solution to heating and hot water provision.

Ground source heat pumps offer the lowest carbon, lowest running cost and lowest grid impact heating. Despite this, the lower upfront cost of air source heat pumps means that far more are installed in the UK each year.

Fabric first deep energy retrofit of housing such as EnerPHit costs around £1,000 per m2, plus additional for doors and windows, that is around £70,000 per property to reduce carbon by 80%.

In comparison, Heat the Streets will reduce carbon by 70% immediately for around £20,000 per property. There is no need to move out whilst the work is done and no need to redecorate. Quick-win insulation such as loft and cavity wall will be requested where it has not already been installed.

The carbon savings of Heat the Streets homes will continue to grow as more renewable energy generation is added to the National Grid, with each home reaching the Net Zero target by 2030 with no further work.

The solution.

The high upfront cost of ground source heating is a barrier to uptake. However, the whole life cost of ground source heating is lower than any other technology and the carbon savings are greater. Savings from avoidance of grid upgrade cost could run into the billions.

In order to realise these benefits, we must coordinate installation street by street to minimise capital cost for streets with multiple homeowners and we must remove the upfront cost from the decision-making process so that everyone can take part.