The government has launched its Heat and Buildings Strategy, heralding a cheap clean heating revolution and promising to make heat pumps no more expensive – or even cheaper – to buy and run than gas boilers.
Home owners will receive government grants of up to £5,000 from next April to buy the pumps to replace their old boilers over the next decade through a new £450 million three-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme.
The government and industry will work together to help meet the aim of heat pumps costing the same to buy and run as fossil fuel boilers by 2030.
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng (pictured) says recent volatile global gas prices have highlighted the need to double down on efforts to reduce Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels and move away from gas boilers over the coming decade to protect consumers in long term.
Phil Hurley (pictured), chair of the Heat Pump Association, says the industry is now ready to retrain the UK’s army of installers with the capacity to train up to 40,000 per year, to ensure consumers can find suitably trained and skilled heat pump installers.
He adds: “Today’s announcement will give industry and installers a huge confidence boost that now is the time to scale-up and retrain in preparation for the mass roll out of heat pumps, as well as making heat pumps as affordable as boilers, so all consumers can soon access and enjoy the benefits of affordable, reliable low carbon heating that stands the test of time.”
However, Dave Sheridan, executive chairman at Homes England-backed modular house builder Ilke Homes, says the new strategy must be more ambitious in its goal to decarbonise the UK’s housing stock.
“To avoid huge retrofitting costs, policymakers must prioritise the delivery of zero-carbon new homes now by bringing forward the requirement to reach the Future Homes Standard ahead of 2025,” says Sheridan.
“The government’s target of installing 600,000 air source heat pumps in UK homes by 2028 is achievable as half of those should be in new homes. The sooner we move to these low-carbon technologies, the sooner we can bring down capital costs.”
Green Homes Grant
Kevin Wellman (pictured), CEO of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering, tells LandlordZONE that he would like to see a viable alternative introduced to the Green Homes Grant Scheme.
“It is important that any schemes are easy for landlords and qualified installers to access, as there is a real danger of a miss-match between supply and demand,” he says.
“In order to achieve the government’s aspirations for net zero, 100,000 installers need to be upskilled in low carbon technologies.”
Many landlords believe the targets are wishful thinking and that its aim to see all rented properties raised to an energy rating of band C or above by 2030 is a ‘pipedream’ unless upgrades are backed with financial and practical support.
Read the Commons guide to the Heat and Building Strategy document.