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Heat pump technology a cost-effective solution

The legislation aims to ensure that new homes in England are futureproofed with low-carbon heating systems and high levels of energy efficiency, including heat pumps replacing gas-powered boilers.

Heat pump technology a cost effective solution

Academic and industry experts talk us through a housing development project that is proving that heat pump technology is a cost-effective solution to net zero commitments in housebuilding. The ‘Project 80’ development in Birmingham is the first that models the Government’s Future Homes Standard which will be compulsory for all new homes built by 2025. 

Mike Leonard, visiting professor in Manufacturing and Construction at Birmingham City University, said: “The retrofitting of 26 million homes to meet our climate change obligations presents a massive challenge and opportunity for the UK economy.  

“It is of critical importance that we place home occupiers at the heart of the journey and ensure we invest in training and UK manufacturing to ensure we have the capacity to produce the products and the skills we need to complete this huge task.  

“We should also adopt a fabric first approach to ensure increased insulation is matched by a ventilation strategy to maintain good air quality.” 

Emissions reduced by over 80% 

Dr Tony Hopkin, head of construction and quality at housing association Midland Heart, and visiting lecturer in construction innovation, says “the UK housebuilding industry is exploring low-carbon forms of heating and hot water to reduce carbon emissions”. 

“Few would argue against the need to reduce carbon emissions. In the UK housebuilding industry, we find ourselves exploring low-carbon forms of heating and hot water as one method of achieving this. On our ‘Project 80’ development in Birmingham, of which Birmingham City University is a partner, we are on-course to reduce the operational CO2 emissions of our homes by 80% (compared to current regulations) by utilising heat pump technology.” 

“Used in the correct setting, air-source heat pumps can be a cost-effective solution to providing low-carbon heating and hot water for new homes. With the efficiency of air-source heat pumps being so high, they can also help bring the running costs down for our residents. This is why we are working with leading manufacturers Baxi, GlenDimplex, and Vaillant to install heat pumps on our ‘Project 80’ development, which is developing homes to the forthcoming Future Homes Standard – achieving an 80% CO2 emission reduction compared to current energy efficiency requirements. 

“When the building fabric performs well, heating loads are significantly reduced. When used in conjunction with superior building fabric, direct electric heating is a real option to heating homes, whilst keeping CO2 emissions low. On our ‘Project 80’ development we are doing just that – we are working with GlenDimplex to incorporate direct electric heating to meet the space-heating requirements for selected houses, with the hot water provision coming from hot-water heat pumps.”