With a target to ensure that all fuel poor properties meet Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) C by 2030, social housing providers are leading the way in addressing the housing stock decarbonisation challenge; The need to protect tenants against rising energy prices is also increasingly important.
Heat pump technology will play a vital role in delivering fuel bill savings for tenants, as well as lower building carbon emissions.
Increasingly more housing providers are turning to heat pumps to provide heating and hot water for their tenants. Housing estates are being regenerated and new social housing is being built with heat pumps providing a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions. Heat pumps are efficient, and reliable at low temperatures and, in comparison to fossil fuel boilers, generate fewer carbon emissions. On average, a heat pump creates 1.6 tonnes of CO2 per household, compared to 5.3 tonnes for an oil boiler or 3.7 tonnes for a gas boiler.
In the drive to net zero, renewable alternatives like heat pumps are an excellent sustainable solution for a warm and more efficient home that benefit tenants.
Changes to Building Regulations
With lower emissions of both carbon and air pollutants at the point of use, heat pumps are the perfect solution for new build and existing properties. New Building Regulations came into effect in June 2022 that saw an uplift in minimum building performance standards in order to reduce carbon emissions. The changes included uplifts to Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Power) and Part F (Ventilation) for new and existing homes. These changes form part of the Government’s roadmap to the 2025 Future Homes Standard, which will deliver net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
For new homes, the new regulations require a 31% reduction in emissions compared to current 2012 standards. This can be achieved by the installation of heat pumps, combined with a renewable energy source, such as solar energy.
New and replacement heating systems in both domestic and non-domestic buildings will be required to have a maximum flow temperature of 55°C. This means that homes will already be equipped for a heat pump installation in the future. It is important that the adoption of low carbon heating is considered as part of any renovation.
The Government will soon begin consultations for the Future Homes Standard, before further updating the Building Regulations in 2025. The Government’s “Fabric Plus Technology” policy encourages the application of heat pumps due to their practicality and cost-effectiveness, as opposed to alternative technologies, such as solar panels.
Tenants and Fuel Poverty
With the rising price of fossil fuels leading to increasing costs of heating, social housing tenants on low incomes are finding it more expensive to heat their homes. Social housing providers are working hard to try to alleviate these pressures. Choosing heat pumps and energy efficiency improvements will help to reduce fuel consumption and make homes more economical for tenants.
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The Heat Pump Association (HPA) is the UK’s leading voice on the use and benefits of heat pump technology and includes many of the country’s leading manufacturers of heat pumps, components and associated equipment.