It has recently been advised that all new homes in the UK should move away from gas boilers and hobs in favour of heat pumps and induction hobs. The report issued from government advisors suggests that new houses could be heated by a network of hot water heated from industries’ waste heat. The other alternative would be heat pumps which use warmth from the ground, air or sea.
Making the changes in new housing is a much more affordable way to make the changes. The cost for a new house would be around £4,800 for low carbon heating compared to that of the cost in an existing house of £26,300. The high insulation in a new house is also a factor as the systems need high levels of insulation to be effective.
The government needs to find new ways to reduce the levels of emissions if it is to meet the climate change targets. Gas boilers and hobs use fossil fuels and produce harmful emissions, the levels of which have risen according to figures last year. It is estimated that around 14% of greenhouse gases come from our households. Currently not enough is being done to ensure this figure is reduced.
To meet future targets the government is now proposing that all new housing will have to find ways to produce almost no emissions at all. £6bn have been allowed by the government to commit to improving the efficiency of low- income households.
There are also plans to tackle the problem with existing homes. This, however, is a much more expensive problem but long-term could save much money and cut emissions. The report has warned that existing housing will need updating to deal with extreme heatwaves of the future and plans to upgrade efficiency, improve air quality and reduce flood risk.
Gas hobs have also come under fire. They, of course, produce greenhouse gases and add to the problem. Induction hobs have been recommended to reduce the amount of gas used. You don’t need to panic about your gas hob being banned just yet though as the government wants to see a ban on all new houses being connected to the gas grid within 6 years, which is 2025. These plans would include no gas hobs being installed within these homes. For existing homes, the plan is to decarbonise heating systems by 2050.
Other countries have already stopped new building from connecting to the grid. Newly built Dutch homes no longer connect to the grid and they plan on all homes, old and new, to be completely free of gas by 2050.
Heat pumps are one effective way homes could get heating and hot water. Heat pumps don’t rely on fossil fuels, but they do require some electricity which could be generated from solar panels in the future to make them eco-friendlier. Heat pumps are very effective and are increasingly being used. There are 160,00 heat pumps in the UK alone, but this is significantly less than other countries and the UK could utilize them much more in the future of housing.