Press | Published on 16th Jun 2016

The Domestic Heat Strategy Group- delivering Low Carbon Heat

The Heating and Hotwater Industry Council, HHIC and its members have identified the actions that we believe the united heating industry, together with Government needs to take to cut carbon emissions.

One of the actions is the formation of a working group made up of key industry figures; Government, industry stakeholders and HHIC members from across the supply chain, which meets regularly to debate and identify solutions to joint issues. A ‘Heat Council’ if you like- a forum for, industry to directly converse with Government.

The inaugural meeting of this new industry funded alliance; the Domestic Heat Strategy Group was held in early November and hosted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, DECC at their offices in Whitehall. The event was chaired by Lord Bourne, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State.

This exciting new partnership between Government and the heating industry is allowing open and frank discussions to be had, around the solutions we need if we are to achieve our shared objectives, and will deliver workable options for both future policy and regulation

As heating accounts for 65% of all domestic energy use we need to reduce emissions and the amount of energy being consumed. The best way to do this is through the deployment of energy efficiency technologies. These however need to be practical, affordable and realistic and must be developed with the energy trilemma in mind.

In order to address the energy trilemma the group will support the development of a single workable heat strategy. There are seven main themes that will provide the framework.

Technology

Policy must not favour one technology over another. Instead it should support innovation and future technologies. There are already a number of technologies available, which can deliver real efficiencies to UK homes and Buildings.

Collaborative approach

In addition to being technology agnostic, future policy must be shaped with extensive input from those involved in the day to day industry, to which the policy relates. Let industry lead with the solutions, as they are the experts. Government can then build the supporting policy.

Whole House Approach

The whole-house systems approach looks at the entire house as an energy system with interdependent parts. Like a human body, when one part functions poorly it affects the performance of the entire system. Policy which only addresses one part of homes energy efficiency is worse than no policy at all.

 Green Gas

UK Government has recognised the potential contribution of ‘green gas’ in helping the UK meets its renewable energy targets. As a consequence considerable resources are being spent on ensuring better and more efficient delivery of gas, particularly biogas.

Building regulations

Changes to policy may require adjustments to current Building regulations. The plumbing and heating industry is already one of the most regulated areas of construction, and so any changes required will need to be sensible and practical.

Consumer behaviour

One of the main barriers to energy efficiency is consumer behaviour and understanding. We know from talking to our installer base that efficiency is simply not the main driver for making home improvements, such as a new boiler. It is more likely to be a distress purchase. Working together with wider stakeholders to improve consumer confidence and to educate them on energy efficiency measures is crucial.

Boiler Plus

HHIC have developed a policy proposal that can improve the efficiency of residential heating systems; Boiler Plus.

Boiler Plus is defined as “a heating appliance with an additional unit that optimises the performance of the heating system”.

The policy has been designed to give the consumer the flexibility to choose the best solution for their circumstances, with installers playing a key role in helping consumers make informed decisions. Its name will change as we drive it forward, but the simple, effective concept will remain.

The Domestic Heat Strategy Group offers a radical new approach to make domestic low carbon heating a reality for UK homes. The group aims to meet a minimum of four times per year, but additionally if the agreed programme dictates.

Radical reductions in the level of carbon emissions associated with the production of heat in UK homes are needed by 2030 if the UK is to meet its fourth carbon budget. In 2014 direct buildings emissions accounted for 17% (74% domestic, 16% commercial and 10% public sector) of direct UK GHG emissions. The Committee on Climate Change has advised that emissions from buildings (both domestic and non-domestic) will need to be cut by more than half by 2030, compared to the 2007 levels.

We are working against a challenging backdrop but by working together we are able move forward.