While most experts agree that decarbonising our heating one hundred per cent is not possible at the moment, lowering our collective carbon footprint can be significantly improved by using technologies such as heat pumps in the future. At the University of Warwick in October, there is a conference based on just that assumption.
With the UK government taking more interest in low carbon techs to help meet our climate change obligations over the next decade or so, this could be a good time to invest and install a heat pump. The Future Thermal Energy Conference at the university is going to look at the political and technological advances that need to be made if we want to move to a more decarbonised economy.
According to the Head of Energy and Sustainability at the university:
“The reality is that we need to be compliant not just with our 2016 challenges but where the policy expects us to get to, and that doesn’t mean finding fancier ways to burn gas – it means complete decarbonisation of heat and power within a generation. Only then will we be sustainable.”
The conference will discuss issues such as how we achieve decarbonisation over the next few years, what influence district heating systems can have, a variety of different technologies such as heat pumps, biomass and solar thermal and how people can be encouraged to switch to more renewable heating. The conference is not only aimed at industry leaders but businesses and private individuals who want to find a way to cut down their carbon emissions.
One thing is for sure. If the Government is serious about us moving to these new heating systems, for both domestic and commercial markets, then there needs to be incentives in place. There are strong rumours that the Renewable Heat Incentive or RHI is going to be repackaged and that more assistance will be given to those who want to change to systems like heat pumps.
There has already been a consultation which took place before the demise of the Department of Energy and Climate Change. This put a more forceful case forward for the decarbonisation of our heating in the UK. The primary reason is that heating accounts for almost half of our carbon emissions and, if any impact is to be made and we are to meet our climate change obligations, this needs to addressed as a matter of urgency.
Even with the death of the DECC and its change to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the focus on developing decarbonised heating seems to have remained. There were many who thought that climate change was being pushed on the back burner when the announcement was made post-Brexit and the Government will have to do some work to make sure this perception is not realised. Their track record over the last few years has been luke warm on renewable technology, to say the least.
There is a long way to go before we all have heat pumps in our home and the logistics of converting a largely gas and electricity based heating system and culture to something more sustainable and carbon friendly is not going to be easy. It can be done, however. According to many experts it has to be done – if we fail then there will be no possibility of bringing down carbon emissions and offsetting the effects of climate change.
The conference is at the University of Warwick on 10th and 11th October.