The greatly anticipated UK Heat and Buildings Strategy has finally been published.
As expected, the strategy contains lofty targets in step with the Government’s net zero ambitions. The headline figures for the residential market look appealing: a £450m boiler upgrade scheme will be up for grabs permitting homeowners to apply for £5,000 grants to fund the installation of low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps, with the stated benefit of energy efficient heating technology that is no more expensive (and potentially cheaper) than current carbon-intensive gas boilers. But upon further investigation many may be left scratching their heads. £450m delivered in the form of individual £5,000 grants equates to 90,000 heat pump installations over three years, far short of the Prime Minister’s ambition of 600,000 a year by 2028. Whilst these initiatives are broadly welcome, much further and deeper reform of the real estate sector’s carbon emissions will be needed if net zero is to be reached by 2050.
The strategy also addresses the need to improve “commercial and industrial places of work” which are estimated to account for one-third of UK emissions. For the larger commercial and industrial buildings (above 1,000m2), the Government is proposing to introduce a regulatory requirement to obtain a “performance-based energy rating based on measured energy data” to measure their trajectory to becoming ‘net zero’. Further details about this scheme will be published in due course.