So Theresa May announced on the 12th June 2019 that the UK will eradicate its net contribution to climate change by 2050, for our industry this could be a very good thing and boost work and earning potential, however, its important that things are set up and done correctly from the start.
In the past any scheme Government have set up to improve efficiency have failed, do you remember the 2016 target for all new build homes to be carbon neutral, it got scraped, we then had the Green Deal, which failed, it is still around with private companies funding as far as I am aware, but as a Government scheme it has gone, so what is to say that the same will not happen to this scheme.
From what I have read so far, there is nothing stating what exactly will be implemented to acheive this target, or how it will be phased in, its all well and good jumping on a bandwagon waving the Climate Change flag, but a real practical possible plan needs to be set up, something that is realistic and can work, are the Government looking at using Hydrogen gas, how would that work, are they looking to switch to all electric heating, heat pumps, solar? what is the plan.
In my opinion the first place to start has to be insulation, if the heatloss of UK properties is reduced, then less heat input is required to keep the property comfortable and so that will equate to less emissions, the next phase has to be new build, all new build homes MUST be built with heat pumps etc, the design of new homes must be scrutinised more to ensure adequate design considerations are used, and space for the plant, we can just have a small airing cupboard (roof spaces could be designed to accomodate the plant so that the footprint of the building does not increase)
My biggest fear for this scheme is that it will just become a box ticking exercise for the Government, where we get poorly designed and installed systems, but they can tick the box to say a renewable has been installed and they believe they are fulfilling their obligations, this is what happened in the thermal solar market and we end up with rubbish systems that are not fit for purpose and are expensive for the homeowner to run, we need to ensure we do not just have salespeople selling systems that are not fit for purpose just so they can earn their commission, no disrespect intended, but some salespeople were selling photocopiers the week before and now claim to be an expert on renewables, I have had a few run ins with these types of people on social media, when advising people to improve their property thermal envelope and ensuring their heat emitters are suitable to run at low temperatures, I get these salespeople telling me I don’t know what I am talking about and that their heat pumps can run at high temperatures and can be retro fitted onto an existing gas boiler system, my reply would be “eh NO’. I am fully aware of the new gases R35 and R290 which can heat to 70 degrees, this is great for hot water production which is a relatively short cycle, but you would NOT design the heating system around this temperature, it would simply be uneconomical, we MUST ensure these tactics to sell heat pumps are not permitted, we have to ensure systems are properly designed and installed, otherwise the scheme will fail, we will not acheive the UK targets, the industry will suffer yet more damage.
Lets get this right from the start, Government must speak with and embrace the installer community if they really want this to succeed.