The Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s first Budget certainly packed a punch and as a boiler manufacturer we were pleased to hear that dedicated funding for low-carbon heat and innovation was promised. What form this funding will take is not 100% clear yet, but we wait with anticipation to hear more. In this blog, our sales manager John Moran gives us his views on what the future of gas heating looks like and why this commitment by the government is welcome news.
Getting things done was the theme of the Budget and Chancellor Rishi Sunak made some big promises. Ten months after the Committee for Climate Change (CCC) released its technical report on legislating for net-zero, the budget promised positive funding for natural climate solutions. According to some, net-zero was apparently mentioned 17 times within the budget document which we can take as a sign that they are taking their commitment to achieving net zero seriously.
It was heartening to see the Treasury demonstrate its belief in a mixed technology approach for viable zero carbon heat and pledge new support for green gas, continuation of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and fresh funding for heat networks.
The budget reiterated the government’s support for achieving decarbonised heat through a combination of electrification and heat pump adoption and switching the gas grid over to green alternatives like hydrogen.
It said, “To meet this challenge, the Budget accelerates the greening of the gas grid by announcing a new support scheme for biomethane, funded by a Green Gas Levy….
“The government will also support the installation of heat pumps and biomass boilers by introducing a Low Carbon Heat Support Scheme.”
The Treasury has committed to outline more details in a net zero review scheduled to take place before the International climate change conference in November.
But many have criticised the fact the Budget failed to account for the need for improving energy efficiency in existing housing stock through support for improvements such as insulation and double glazing in addition to low carbon heat.
As a manufacturer of a heat pump and boiler in one, we wholeheartedly agree. Energy efficient technology is more effective in a well-insulated property.
The installation of low carbon heating will only go so far, it must be coupled with decent insulation to prevent heat loss to make sure the heating system is working as efficiently as possible.
We won’t achieve net zero if our existing housing stock is not energy efficient!
Funding which could be made available to help homeowners install heat pumps and biomass technologies alongside the extension of the RHI will only really benefit those already living in well insulated homes or those able to fund the required improvements to the whole house.
Furthermore, initiatives like RHI don’t currently recognise hybrid products like the Murelle Revolution – which seems to contradict the Treasury’s open support for mixed technology zero carbo solutions.
The future of the gas heating industry is hard to predict. But one thing is clear – time is running out on our promise to meet our carbon reduction targets and this means the way we live has to change.
The CCC and the Treasury advocate the need for a mix of solutions for the whole energy systems including low carbon gas, electricity and renewables.
If we are to succeed in the mission to massively reduce our carbon emissions and meet the target to be net zero by 2050, we need to encourage greater uptake of hybrid renewables products and the funding the government offers needs to represent all renewable products available on the market today.
And we certainly shouldn’t discount gas as a viable energy source.
We also need to look at reducing the demand for heating (whatever the energy source) by improving the efficiency of the home.
This means better building design, overhauling building methods to improve how we build houses to ensure they require less energy to heat.
A combined approach that starts with improving the performance of our homes, followed by changing the type of gas and adopting heating systems that use the most affordable and practical low carbon energy source for the needs of the property, could solve the problem and make for greener, cleaner homes in future.