One thing we can be certain of is that tomorrow’s heating sector will look different to the one we currently know. The goal of net zero has been set but the path we will follow to achieve these carbon targets is less certain as there are multiple routes available for us to take. Government legislation is being prepared to steer the heating industry into a new era, where traditional fossil fuel systems will need to make way for more sustainable solutions. It is therefore, the responsibility of manufacturers, such as Grant, to support and provide installers with viable low carbon heating products, which can effectively meet their customers’ requirements while also reducing emissions.
Low carbon heating – what we know
Carbon emissions need to be significantly reduced and we must take collective responsibility for this. It is accepted that home heating is a large contributor to carbon levels so addressing our sector is at the forefront of legislation
and everyone in the oil industry needs to plan ahead – oil boilers have already been the focus of government legislation and further rulings are expected which could limit their installation numbers. The phasing out of gas and oil boilers from new build properties will commence in 2025 and changes to Part L Building Regulations are also imminent. We have been aware of this for some time now, but we also know that one solution will not fit all scenarios.
For many oil heating engineers, biofuels are currently at the front of their minds. Trials, headed by OFTEC and supported by Grant UK, are underway exploring the use of sustainable biofuels in home heating systems, including Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO). HVO is a second-generation biofuel which uses hydrogen, rather than methanol, during its production. It can be a ‘drop-in fuel’ which allows it to be a replacement for existing fossil fuels, providing a 100% biofuel option.
These trials have produced very promising results with several of our Vortex boilers being successfully converted to run on HVO. Biofuels could therefore help to decarbonise hard to heat homes with minimal disruption and relatively low costs. However, a couple of hurdles may impact the rollout of this sustainable heating option – fuel supply and government support.
Prominent role for heat pumps
While the place for biofuels in the future of home heating is not yet confirmed, what is certain is that heat pumps will play a prominent role. The rise of air source heat pumps has been noticeable over recent years and sales are only going to grow further. Demand is increasing and this interest will provide the heating sector with exciting opportunities over the coming years. Installers can be part of this growth, developing their expertise to expand their business offering by incorporating air source heat pumps into their portfolio and, in return, they can serve a new, broader customer base.
Hybrid technologies are another sustainable heating solution that have a part to play in the road to net zero. Air source heat pumps are suitable for many properties, not just new builds, and you only have to speak to our G1 Installers who are regularly fitting Aerona³ heat pumps to discover the diverse range of projects they have suited. However, in some instances, for example when an old boiler breaks down and a quick replacement is needed, a hybrid product can be
the ideal solution to give homes an immediate restoration of heat while also incorporating renewable energy. The VortexAir Hybrid, for example, combines a VortexBlue oil-fired blue flame boiler with a 17kW Aerona³ heat pump, providing heating engineers with a greener boiler replacement to offer to customers.
Support for installers
The next chapter for home heating is going to be different and while it may appear daunting, there are plenty of opportunities for installers to seize.
Product developments and new technologies will make the heating sector an even more interesting one to be a part of. To help heating engineers transition into the renewables sector, Grant UK is providing increased levels of training support and making this as accessible as possible. The Grant eLearning Academy was launched last summer, and we have seen over 3,000 heating professionals enroll and start their renewables training.
From free, introductory modules through to instructor-led heat pump courses, the eLearning Academy delivers renewable product training in a flexible way to suit installers. This, alongside our Training Academies and expanding technical sales support out in the field, allows Grant UK to provide installers with the tailored support they need to take their own businesses in a new direction.
Whatever tomorrow brings, Grant UK is here to help so that no one is left behind as we work together to bring about change for a greener future.