Future Homes Standard: Heat pumps – a new hope

Agar Grove Estate (c) Jack Hobhouse (1)CMYK

The government’s proposals place a huge amount of faith in the carbon-cutting powers of this technology. But have its credentials been overinflated?

For the first time since the first power station opened in 1882, Britain produced more electricity in the third quarter of 2019 from renewables than from fossil fuels. This expansion of renewables has transformed mains electricity from high-carbon villain to the government’s new best friend in less than 10 years.

The government’s change of heart is reflected in the recently launched consultation on the Future Homes Standard. It suggests a carbon reduction target of 31% by 2020 (compared to the 2013 version of Part L of the Building Regulations) could be met with modest fabric improvements, some photovoltaic panels and heat pumps for hot water and heating, as these are more efficient than direct electric heating. It also states that the 2025 target could be met with enhanced fabric improvements and heat pumps.

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