We urgently need to switch to hybrid heating for homes, says UK report

日期:2019-03-07 09:17:16 作者:车蠼隈 阅读:

Viktor Koen/getty By Michael Le Page People in the UK need to start thinking about connecting an electrical heat pump to the gas boiler that heats the home. Around 10 million homes in the UK need to install such systems by 2035 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, says a report from the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, the expert body that advises the government on how to meet its climate targets. “We are talking about a large-scale roll-out,” says David Joffe of the CCC, who is currently installing such a system in his own home. Installing these hybrid systems in a house should cut natural gas use by 70 per cent or more. In the longer term, the gas supply could be switched to hydrogen to reduce emissions yet further, and by 2050 electrical heat pumps might entirely replace gas. But greening heating systems won’t be cheap. While the running costs of hybrid systems should be similar, the upfront costs are higher. Joffe says his systems will cost around £7000, with grants available to cover £4000 of that. “People are not going to want to fork out extra money,” he says. Instead, the government needs to act to encourage the adoption of greener heating systems. That could mean changing things to make them much cheaper than the alternatives – or even making them compulsory. “Depending on the development of hydrogen-ready appliances and the cost premium over natural gas boilers, the government should consider mandating hydrogen-ready heating appliances by the mid-2020s similar to the successful mandation of condensing boilers 20 years earlier,” the report states. It is clear that the world urgently needs switch to clean, green ways of heating and cooling buildings. Three things need to be done to achieve this, says Richard Lowes of the University of Exeter in the UK, who studies energy policy. “Reduce demand with energy efficiency delivery, electrify heat with heat pumps and grow heat networks in dense urban areas.” Sweden has reduced heating emissions 90 per cent this way. But there are issues with switching straight to heat pumps, which work by using electrical energy to extract heat energy from the air, ground or water, just like your fridge extracts the heat from inside it. For instance, they heat water to temperatures around 20°C lower than traditional boilers, so they can require larger radiators and other expensive changes to homes. What’s more, in countries that rely almost entirely on fossil fuels for heating, like the UK and the Netherlands, switching entirely to electricity would lead to a massive increase in electricity demand on cold winter days. And electricity demand is already expected to soar as people switch to electric vehicles. While hybrid heating systems don’t reduce emissions completely, they could ease the transition. They can heat water to the same temperature as existing systems, so there’s no need to change radiators. “It does not require such disruptive changes,” says Joffe. And when electricity demand soars on cold days, such systems can run entirely on natural gas or hydrogen. “It’s a really exciting solution,” says Joffe. “I’m looking forward to getting mine.” More on these topics: