Older homes urgently need improved energy efficiency
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee has published a report on Decarbonisation of Heat in UK Homes
The plan is to overhaul the way all UK homes are heated. However, the report highlighted an urgent need for policy changes if the goals are to be met as part of the government’s Net Zero Strategy
Alongside soaring energy costs and currently low levels of interest in green energy technology amongst the country’s homeowners, additional steps are needed to achieve the government’s target of installing 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028. 

New electrical skills are needed 

With less than 150,000 plumbing, heating, and ventilation engineers in the UK there’s an urgent need for additional training so that options like ground source heat pumps can be properly installed. While many existing installers support phasing out fossil-fuel heating, they are reluctant to retrain because customer demand is currently low. 

Home electrical upgrades 

For many properties in the UK electricity supplies will need to be upgraded to use heat pump technology. All homeowners will need the services of a qualified contractor to work with the electricity network operator for their installation to be registered and to obtain the required permissions. 
Heap pump installers will need either to employ qualified electricians or use registered electrical contractors at a time when there is already a skills shortage, in part due to the expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure. 

Possible pitfalls 

While the new Boiler Upgrade Scheme is due to replace the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive in April with grants for homeowners of between £5,000 and £6,000 the average price of an air source heat pump is estimated to be £6,000 to £8,000 and up to £18,000 for a ground source heat pump. The funding gap is likely to mean that uptake is slower than the government would like to see and training will be further delayed. 
Many low-income homeowners will continue to find it difficult to install a heat pump, even with the grant. There’s also a potential additional problem since the current method for calculating the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is based on energy consumption. This could mean that properties will receive a lower rating once efficient low carbon alternatives have been installed that adversely affect property values. 

Government initiatives 

The Select Committee has recommended that the government introduces a low-carbon heating training programme, a national consumer awareness campaign, and a heat technology road map by September 2022. While the government’s long-term strategies provide an overview they currently don’t include enough detail to monitor progress. 
Please get in touch if you would like advice about the electrical requirements for alternative heat sources for your home. 
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