JULY 17, 2021
By Paul Homewood
h/t Ian Magness
GREEN alternatives to gas boilers will cost £11.8 billion more than the Government has budgeted for over the next four years as ministers have vastly underestimated the scale of home retrofits, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
Homeowners and landlords also face paying £17.8 billion in the next four years to go green, claims analysis from leading energy groups and think tanks
The Government aims to replace oil and gas boilers at the rate of 600,000 a year by 2028, although campaigners say it will need to rise to 900,000.
But it has underestimated how many homeowners can pay thousands of pounds to retrofit and install heat pumps, says analysis from the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group (EEIG), which includes utility provider EON and the Confederation of British Industry. The technology, which is similar to a refrigerator in reverse and runs on electricity, heats radiators to a lower temperature and often requires insulation, bigger radiators and underfloor heating to keep older homes warm.
The scale of the challenge to install them is immense. Energy efficiency retrofits, which the Government says it wants to achieve in around 17 million houses by 2035, are expected to cost £4,400 per home. A heat pump ranges from £7,000 to £15,000, though manufacturers say they will be able to halve costs within 18 months.
But a third of homeowners have no savings, according to the most recent English Housing Survey. “UK homes perform shamefully when it comes to energy efficiency – and we simply have no more time to waste in making improvements,” said Alan Jones, president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, a member of the EEIG.
MPs and industry figures say a huge education campaign will be needed to explain to people how heat pumps work. Heating our homes accounts for around 14 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, one of the biggest single sources. The vast majority of that comes from gas boilers in the 85 per cent of homes that use them.
But 85 per cent of Britons do not think their boiler is a major contributor to the UK’s emissions.
Heat pumps are common in Europe, particularly in Nordic countries, belying the idea that they cannot be used in colder climates, and are currently “the only viable low carbon heating source”, said Philip Dunne, the Tory chairman of the environmental audit committee.
But they are an unfamiliar technology and can be tricky to get right, particularly in the UK’s older, leaky homes, which often require a bespoke system.
And there is a huge lack of trained installers in the UK – only 1,200 compared to the 10,000 that will be needed by 2025, according to research by EY. Air-source heat pumps work by using a fan to pull ambient heat out of the air, which is converted via a compressor to hotter temperatures, used to heat radiators and a hot water cylinder for taps and showers.
Ground-source heat pumps work in a similar way, but draw their heat from pipes buried in either horizontally, or vertically at around 90m to 160m deep.
For maximum efficiency, heat pumps are designed to heat water to lower temperatures than a gas boiler, by around 10 degrees. That is plenty for a hot bath or shower, but can require bigger radiators, underfloor heating and insulation to ensure a typical home stays warm.
The technology can also take more than two hours to heat water and is designed to heat up gently to a lower temperature, requiring planning ahead for showers and times when you will be home. “We need to level with consumers. But instant heating of our homes to similar degrees as the tropics isn’t the answer. We need to reduce excessive energy consumption to reduce the impact on our environment,” said Mr Dunne.
“People have come to expect everything should be instantaneous, which is a false reality that is a product of artificially low gas prices,” said John Szymik, the chief executive of Octopus Energy Services, which is investing millions in heat pump technology and training.
So another £30 billion on the already bloated and unaffordable bill for decarbonising heating. But apparently it’s all our fault, as we have not insulated our houses!
Forget about the nonsense about Scandinavian countries, as I suspect most of their homes burn an awful lot of wood etc to stay warm in winter. As for prices being cut in half, they would say that. Let manufacturers put their money where their mouth is, and cut prices now in return for orders in bulk.
Meanwhile, MP Philip Dunne is sure we will be happy to fork out once we realise how much carbon dioxide our gas boilers are emitting.
Then there’s little Emma Gatten. I would have said she had lost the plot, but I doubt whether she had ever found it! She is worries that a third of homeowners have no savings. What gives her the right to demand that people’s hard earned savings are spent on green frippery which nobody wants?
The real problem here is that successive governments have relied solely on the advice of Gummer’s CCC and the green blob which infiltrated DECC, and subsequently BEIS. They were assured that decarbonising would be easily affordable. But gradually cold hard reality is beginning to dawn.
The article includes this case study, which is a timely warning: