Positioned as the low-carbon future for home heating, heat pumps offer a promising solution. To quantify the potential impact, British Gas has developed a calculator. Users can receive a personalised estimate of the CO2 reduction achievable by transitioning from traditional heating systems to modern heat pumps.
The tool further provides context by comparing these savings to emissions from typical sources like long-distance flights and carbon-absorbing trees.
To try out the calculator and to view the CO2 emission equivalents data, head to the research page: https://www.britishgas.co.uk/home-services/boilers-and-heating/heat-pump-carbon-cruncher.html. By switching to a heat pump, a UK home could lower its annual household emissions by 1,404Kg of CO2, on average – the equivalent of 3.3 flights from London to New York and switching to a vegan diet for four years.
Based on the average UK household’s annual energy consumption of 12,000kWh (a 2-3 bedroom house currently using a mains gas heating system), switching to an air source heat pump could save 1,404 Kg of CO2 annually.
These CO2 savings are equivalent to:
- Over one year, the average household emission savings are equivalent to the amount of CO2 produced by driving 4,544 miles in a typical petrol car or the same amount of CO2 absorbed by 64 trees.
- Over five years, the amount of carbon saved by a typical household switching to a heat pump is equivalent to 16.3 one-way economy flights from London to New York.
- Over 10 years, the emission savings from switching to a heat pump are equivalent to the data centre emissions produced by 89,256 hours spent on online video calls.
- Throughout the minimum expected lifespan of a new heat pump, 20 years, a household can expect to save 28,080Kg of CO2. That’s equivalent to the emissions savings of one person switching to a vegan diet for 80 years and the CO2-absorbing power of 29,933,280Kg of compost waste.
*The image above is taken from the results page of the British Gas Carbon Cruncher calculator.
If the UK achieves its target of 600,000 annual heat pump installations, by how much could UK CO2 emissions reduce?
The government has set a target of 600,000 homes to be switching to heat pumps every year by 2028. If that happens, the annual amount of C02 saved could be equivalent to the carbon produced by the Space X rocket launching 7,262 times and more:
- The C02 savings would be equivalent to 2.4million Brits switching to a vegan diet for one year.
- It would offset the emissions caused by 7,262 Space X rocket launches.
- The emission savings are equivalent to the C02 produced by driving the circumference of the earth 109,482 times.
- It would require 226 square miles of rainforest to absorb the same amount of carbon.
- It would require 508,875 motorists switching from petrol to electric vehicles to save the same amount of C02 in one year.
- It is equivalent to the emissions caused in the production of 60,171 barrels of oil.
Sources and methodology
- Using the average energy usage for space heating and hot water in different sized homes (source: Ofgem), and the emission efficiency ratios (CO₂ per kWh delivered) of different heating systems such as LPG, Oil, Mains Gas and Direct Electric (source: Energy Performance Validation Scheme), we calculate a household’s annual CO2 emissions produced for home heating and hot water.
- This value is then compared against the CO2 emissions produced by the same property type with an air source heat pump (ASHP) heating system.
- The difference between the two final values is the amount of CO2 that can be saved by switching to an air source heat pump.