The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published its response to its ‘A future framework for heat in buildings’ call for evidence earlier this year.
In the original call for evidence, Claire Perry, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, said that “it must be understood that we will not be heating our buildings in 2050 by setting fire to the same substances people burned in the Victorian era”.
The response adheres to the same principle, and leans on evidence from the industry that there are significant options for transitioning to an off-grid heating solution that will not rely on fossil fuels, but instead on alternative technologies and services to provide the same services at similarly reasonable costs and skill levels.
Despite concerns about cost, respondents leaned heavily towards heat pumps as a solution for replacing heating technologies in off-grid homes and businesses when aiming for reduced or zero emissions. Many respondents also saw an opportunity for hybrid systems (i.e. heat pumps and LPG) to play a larger role in transitioning off-grid heating away from fossil fuels.
Some respondents saw potential reduction in cost for heat pumps coming in the form of ‘heat as a service’, referring to a new business model where energy providers can look towards providing heat and comfort as a packaged service, rather than simply the selling of units of fuel.
Installers were acknowledged in the response as a vital part of driving forward the UK’s move to decarbonisation, and as a conduit to homeowners when switching to new technologies and spreading awareness.
The response said: “One of the key challenges the UK faces in the next decade is how to work with industry to ensure the installer and heating engineer community is equipped to support the transition to low-carbon heat in off gas grid buildings.
“At present, this community is not yet equipped to meet our Clean Growth commitment to phase out the installation of all new high carbon heating installations in the 2020s in the UK. The transition is therefore likely to involve (re)training measures, and may also require important changes to standards, assessment, and enforcement to ensure all installations are carried out in alignment with a clear framework.”
The full outcome of the call for evidence for A Future Framework for Heat in Buildings can be found here.