The decarbonisation of the electricity grid in the UK is a huge success story. We now need to use this ever improving, low-carbon energy resource to heat our homes and workplaces, provide our hot-water and fuel our vehicles.
The Government’s latest offer to assist with the costs of new lower-carbon and energy efficient technology is helpful, but to implement these changes in millions of properties across the UK is a colossal challenge. The electrification of our homes and workplaces needs to occur hand in hand with energy efficiency otherwise sustainability gains are immediately lost through waste.
Previous efforts to stimulate energy efficiency, such as the Green Deal, were a profound failure in terms of uptake and carbon savings. For the new scheme to be successful, the UK’s 28 million domestic properties need to be improved at a rate of 700,000 properties a year in order to meet our national 2050 targets.
We do have the technology to do this. We can use heat-pumps to heat our homes and workplaces from, often locally generated, renewable energy. In urban settings we can use low temperature and even ambient temperature heat networks, which can recover waste heat from our industry, our waste facilities and our data centres.
This will require significant investment, however, and we need to know there is a longevity of supply and a return for investors. Smart technology and workforce training will absolutely play a part.
All our homes, and especially our affordable homes, should include affordable warmth, and perhaps with the anticipated change in technologies, from gas to electricity, we should re-framing boilers/heat-pumps and the sale of kWh of energy to ‘hours of warmth’ or ‘numbers of hot showers/hot-washes’. We do it when we purchase mobile phone data and fuel our cars, and this is a much more intuitive way for consumers to become engaged.
Hilson Moran has already started to plan and design new buildings, new communities, and new places that do not use natural gas for heating and hot water, and instead use heat pumps and 4th/5th generation heat networks. We are also procuring electrical infrastructure to meet these needs, including EV charging deployment strategies.
These projects include both dense urban communities and Garden Villages. In addition to technical design we are also looking to develop Local Energy Archetypes where a landlord or management company can procure energy direct from a local generator.
Please get in touch to discuss how we can support your transition to net zero.