Pump it up!

Switching to a heat pump is the only way to slash your home's carbon emissions, says Jonathan Waxman. But it's not as daunting as many think.

REACH committee has set a goal of a Net Zero Suburb by 2040. What does that mean? What are the things that really move the needle? According to a recent Barnet Council audit, 60% of carbon emissions in the borough (London’s second most populous just behind Croydon) come from buildings ie heating buildings in winter. 

Lighting is also in that buildings element but with modern LED bulbs that may represent a tenth of heating demand in terms of energy consumption.We calculate that HGS has the same basic profile.

So how do we eliminate that 60% of carbon emissions from heating? It’s the boiler that has to go – that’s where the gas is burned and the carbon dioxide comes out the flue of the boiler into the air (though you wouldn’t know it – no smell or colour). Probably 5-10 tonnes each year for typical HGS homes.

What should replace the boiler to keep our homes warm? Well – hot off the press news – it won’t be a hydrogen-powered boiler. The Government just announced that it is shelving all the hydrogen pilot schemes that were planned. Hydrogen is super dangerous and very expensive and scientifically was always a non-starter. Hydrogen will not be coming to a home near you soon (or ever). 

Nestled in the wild...an HGS heat pump

Photo: Sarah Stafford

What does the Government say it will be then after thinking about this for the past 5-10 years? It is going to be heat pumps for areas like ours – and heat networks in areas that are more densely populated. There are excellent reasons why heat pumps are magic – and we would be happy to chat to you about that, if you are interested (we are!).

Taking the next steps

Great news is that there is a £7,500 government grant – the Boiler Upgrade Scheme – that you can get to install a new heat pump. Get it while you can! HGS REACH has loads of heat pump information for you, for your architect, for your builder or for your heating engineer. We will help you get heat pump ready! We can put you in touch with HGS residents who have installed heat pumps in their homes. You can chat to them about their experience, running costs and so on.

If you are interested in taking things a step further, we are looking for between 10-100 homes to register their interest and to achieve a significant discount on a feasibility survey for each property. The survey is likely to cost £200, and you are not committed to anything once the survey has been completed. 

Do you have a heat pump installed already and want to share your story? We are producing a series of videos on homes with clean and green initiatives to help other HGS residents get started. If you’d like to take part please email us! For all of this and more get in touch with us at reach@hgsra.uk – we are pumped to hear from you! As Henrietta would have almost certainly said: “It’s a Heat Pump In Every Home.”

Some of our other heat pump articles:

Heat pumps on the Suburb An introductory guide

Time for a reality check on heat pumps for smaller homes Yes! Even small homes can be heated by heat pumps. We know because we visited one.

Or check out The Guardian's heat pump mythbusters series.

Related Articles: Heat Pumps | Climate Change

Article created:13th June 2024