Andy Hooper, Managing Director, Unitherm Heating Systems, gives his view on where the government needs to go from here.
We have been hearing that the Green Revolution is on its way for quite some time. But is it really coming? Recent news that the much vaunted ‘Green Homes Grant’ scheme has died a death is hardly encouraging news. Whilst it was pretty easy to pick holes in the scheme as it was rolled out, it did at least show a willingness to support the move to a greener future in the heating sector. Although it was far from simple to understand or implement, it was an improvement on previous Government schemes that were withdrawn through lack of take up and difficulties of getting paid for doing your best to advance the cause of green heating.
It simply does not make sense to set up complex schemes that people cannot understand and as a consequence, turn their backs on before these schemes can even get off the ground.
However, on an optimistic note, the market for air source heat pumps is still expected to double in 2021, which is positive news. However, to achieve targets set on greenhouse emissions set by the Government, we know this needs to be higher.
So, how do we achieve this?
Firstly, we need to be bringing forward legislation that mandates heat pumps in new build housing. Across Europe, it is commonplace to have a heat pump in a new build property, and legislation dictates and supports this. If a heat pump is installed into a new build home, there are efficiencies to be gained as it can operate on lower temperatures. By designing the heating system into the building programme from the beginning the correct size of pipework can be configured at the start with ancillary items being easily incorporated into the design plan without interrupting the build.
It would also help installers get accustomed to the technology and the methods of installation in well-designed homes, rather than having to “shoehorn” a heat pump into outmoded heating systems.
We have established Unitherm Heating Systems here in the UK to provide renewable heating solutions which will be supported through our Centre of training excellence, technical support and onsite commissioning assistance. This will allow installers to focus on installing and to be rest assured that there is full support given at every step of the process.
With this in mind, we would encourage Government to make two key announcements:
1 Bring forward building regulations that mandate heat pumps to be installed in new build properties from 2023
2 Provide support to training centres and colleges in upskilling to better understand and embrace heat pump technology
If the Government also supported a “boiler scrappage” scheme that was simple to access and that was budgeted for accordingly, this would step up the reduction of carbon in homes across the UK from the moment it came into being.
Only when we have the desire from installers across the UK to switch to installing low carbon and low temperature heating systems such as heat pumps, can we truly say that the Green Revolution is here!
Unitherm Heating Systems is dedicated to bringing the Green Revolution closer. It has established its own training centre in its new premises in Exeter and installers can book themselves on a heat pump training course today.