According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the energy sector produces around 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions, a major contributor to climate change.
For the world to reach net zero emissions targets by 2050, the IEA has recommended no new fossil fuel-powered boilers should be sold from 2025, in their Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector recently released in the run-up to this year’s COP26 conference in Glasgow.
How will we be heating our homes in a greener Britain?
Attention is shifting to different ways we can heat our homes and businesses using low-emission alternatives; the most popular option is likely to be heat pumps, which extract heat energy from the air, ground or water. This technology is already available on the open market, albeit quite expensive at £6,000 to £18,000, depending on the type and size.
The good news is that heat pumps are subsidised by the Government under a scheme called the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, and MPs across the country are calling for more support and incentives to be offered to increase uptake.
Do Drayton heating controls work with heat pumps?
All Drayton thermostats and heating controls are compatible with heat pumps, so if you’re thinking of upgrading to a heat pump system you can be assured that any new or existing Drayton products you use will work with your heat pump system.
The NEW Digistat, a universal thermostat with app-controlled heating via Bluetooth connection, is our newest addition to the popular Digistat range, and is even optimised for heat pump systems. Simply select heat pump as the fuel type on commissioning and the thermostat will optimise its settings to maximise efficiency of your heat pump system.
Does Wiser work with heat pumps?
Wiser is compatible with heat pumps. We’re continuously future-proofing Wiser to ensure efficiency whatever happens in the world of domestic heating, so we’ve ensured that our range of smart heating systems is fully compatible with heat pumps.
What if a heat pump isn’t suitable?
Aside from heat pumps, other methods could include boilers that could be switched from fossil fuel to hydrogen power, costing only around £100 more than a standard £2,000 boiler. This method is likely to be limited though; the energy required to split hydrogen from water often comes from surplus electricity generated by wind farms at night when demand is low. The result is enough hydrogen to power around 11% of the UK, most likely in areas of north-east Scotland near wind-turbine hubs.
Other area-specific opportunities – while not available to all UK homes – will likely be developed wherever possible to help make the most of our natural, low-emission heat sources, like geothermal energy hotspots in Cornwall and tidal energy around our coastlines. Surplus heat energy generated by nuclear power stations could also be captured to help heat our homes and lower emissions.
There are even calls to put decommissioned coal mines to good use by drawing warm water from old mine shafts and capturing the heat energy. Whatever the method, shifting away from fossil fuels will require creative innovation and cooperation from all energy sectors.
Remi Volpe, VP of Residential Temperature Control at Schneider Electric is also Chairman of BEAMA Heating Controls. He explains the need for a stronger focus on heating controls and the role they will play in reducing carbon emissions and meeting net zero targets.
“As plans are set out in 2021 to decarbonising heat in UK homes, it is expected in large part that this will require a transfer from the current predominance of natural gas boilers to either electric heat pumps or boilers that can run on hydrogen.
“The upshot of this is that if we can reduce the amount of fuel that is needed to heat our homes, it will provide a significant benefit by both reducing the infrastructure cost of decarbonisation for government and the end cost to consumers. This is why the forthcoming Heat and Buildings Strategy, setting out a roadmap for how the UK will decarbonise heat, must include a strong focus on improving heating system controls.
“A strategy to optimise control and efficient operation of UK residential heating systems could significantly reduce the amount of energy required for heating, and therefore the infrastructure cost of providing decarbonised heat. Research and calculations carried out by the BEAMA Heating Controls group show that currently available measures to improve system efficiency have the potential to reduce the current gas consumption for heating by over 20%.
“As well as making the UK ready for decarbonisation, this would also reduce carbon emissions from gas and oil boilers in existing homes; providing immediate energy efficiency improvements, while making homes cheaper to run and more comfortable to live in.
“The path to net-zero heating needs to start now and we believe we have the capability to help with this today by leveraging the full capabilities of better controls and practices.”
- Remi Volpe, VP – Residential Temperature Control at Schneider Electric and Chairman of BEAMA Heating Controls
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