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With the UK committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, drastic action is needed by the government. For new-build homes, there’s a gas boiler ban coming in less than five years’ time. And for older properties, it’s likely that gas prices will continue to rise, to encourage homeowners to switch to a more sustainable alternative. Renewable heating market With this in mind, the renewable heating market is growing rapidly, albeit from a very small base – but with targets in place to keep the momentum up. The government has committed to install 600,000 heat pumps into new homes by 2028. The government has committed to install 600,000 heat pumps into new homes by 2028 People who are already living in (old and new) properties heated by renewable technology should be applauded for pioneering it – but understandably, not everyone has the confidence to give up a solution they’re familiar with, and to step into the relative unknown. And that’s why the value of transitional technologies cannot be over-estimated– both to homeowners who want to live more sustainably and to installers looking to adapt and future-proof their businesses. But the role that hybrid heat pumps can play in accelerating progress on the road to zero has been somewhat overlooked to date. Hybrid heat pumps Hybrid heat pumps combine the power of a heat pump with the familiarity of a high-efficiency boiler. The two appliances work together to provide heating and hot water, providing the ideal replacement for a combi boiler as a first step towards introducing renewable heating technology into the home. Compared to a traditional gas boiler, hybrid heat pump systems can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 55% and have been proven to deliver up to a 50% reduction in energy bills in homes in the UK. Our Daikin Altherma hybrid heat pump’s smart programming helps to save up to 35% more energy than a traditional condensing boiler by automatically determining the most economically and energy-efficient operating combination based on energy prices, outdoor temperatures, and indoor heat capacity. Heat pump share The hybrid system’s operating mode can be shifted to more electric heat pump share As well as being quick to install, hybrid systems are designed to look and operate like a conventional boiler system and deliver like-for-like performance and comfort levels. And to give homeowners peace of mind, the heat pump can act as a back-up for the boiler, and vice-versa – meaning they’ll never be caught short. Hybrid systems are best-suited to smaller homes in urban areas, that are likely to have a combi-boiler, and where the shell of the building is not energy-efficient enough to rely on electricity alone. But as the efficiency of the building is improved and upgraded over time, the hybrid system’s operating mode can be shifted to more electric heat pump share. And while there’s a lot of talk about new homes in the renewable heating debate, hybrid technology is ideal for renovations and boiler replacements. Heating system replacements We estimate that there are 1.1 million homes across the country that would be well-served by a hybrid system. That, combined with the benefits of hybrids for both installers and consumers, is why we firmly believe in hybrid heat pumps’ potential to support a faster, easier, and more affordable transition to low carbon heating in this country. Every homeowner who buys a Daikin Altherma hybrid system gets a high-efficiency boiler for free When consumers are looking at heating system replacements, we know that complexity and disruption are barriers to purchase. Fortunately, neither is an issue with hybrids. While hybrid heat pump systems can be installed with a household’s existing boiler, to help increase uptake, we’re running a special offer at the moment whereby every homeowner who buys a Daikin Altherma hybrid system gets a brand-new, high-efficiency boiler for free. Low carbon technology And there’s no need to lose valuable floor space to a hot water cylinder or to make changes to the radiators. Hybrids aren’t just good news for homeowners; they represent a real opportunity for installers, too. At the moment, there are 1,000 heat pump installers in the UK and around 125,000 gas boiler installers. We need to transition these boiler installers towards low carbon technology – not just to drive progress on the road to net zero, but to help their businesses stay relevant and competitive. This year, in partnership with 11 of our Daikin Sustainable Home Centres across the UK, we’re running a free nationwide training program to help installers enter the renewable heating market with hybrid heat pumps. eco-Friendly hybrid solution Reducing electricity prices isn’t enough to encourage people to change the way they heat their homes Installers who complete the day-long course can expand their portfolio and gain the skills to upgrade customers to an eco-friendly hybrid solution. Reducing electricity prices isn’t enough to encourage people to change the way they heat their homes; more needs to be done to make new, clean technologies accessible and appealing. We’re doing what we can to incentivize homeowners – and installers – to embrace the possibilities of a hybrid heat pump system, but a clear funding mechanism from Government is needed as well, specifically to help with the upfront cost of upgrading (free boiler or no free boiler). While the now-closed Green Homes Grant explicitly included hybrid heat pump technology, there’s a big question as to whether the same hybrid solutions will be included in the Clean Heat Grant – the details of which are expected later this year. The answer to that question needs to be ‘yes’.
A landmark UN scientific study has once again highlighted the short window available to prevent irreversible climate change. Businesses are coming under pressure to dramatically accelerate their net-zero carbon initiatives. This comes at a time where market dynamism is returning across a range of key sectors following a downturn triggered by the pandemic. Businesses are also being pressured by stakeholders to recover revenues lost during the pandemic and to start rebuilding commercial activity. Typical supermarket products With refrigeration sitting at the heart of some of the biggest industries across the globe, including food commerce, healthcare, manufacturing and technology, decisions on refrigerant technology tap into the heart of the debate around environmental credibility, consumer expectations and economic recovery. So how can businesses balance the need to adopt more environmentally-preferable refrigerants with the urgent need to boost revenues? The technology factors into many of the most important facets of modern society Often when you think of refrigeration, you instantly think of cold storage and supermarket refrigeration. Without refrigerants, we wouldn’t be able to extend the life of many typical supermarket products or have the convenience of home storage. However, that isn’t the only role refrigeration play in our daily lives. In fact, the technology factors into many of the most important facets of modern society. The healthcare sectors, for example, would struggle to reduce the spread of infection without the use of modern air-conditioning, while the pharmaceutical industry requires refrigeration to store life-saving medications. Preserving human life On top of this, the digital revolution would not be possible. Without coolants, the data centers run by companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google would overheat, resulting in system failures and service outages. And finally, with temperatures rising across the planet because of global warming, and heatwave events becoming more common, refrigeration is increasingly important to preserving human life. Without refrigerants, recent extreme weather events would have been even more devastating. However, although refrigeration has been a solution for many human challenges, finding a refrigerant that is both safe and environmentally preferable is a challenge. In fact, before recent breakthroughs, many of the chemicals used as refrigerants, such as ammonia, sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide and methyl chloride, were poisonous, corrosive and even explosive. Non-Flammable alternative CFCs were found to be extremely harmful to the ozone layer and were therefore phased out In the 1930s, a compound called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) was commercially introduced as a non-toxic, non-flammable alternative to established refrigerants and was in widespread use for a variety of applications by the mid-20th Century. However, CFCs were found to be extremely harmful to the ozone layer and were therefore phased out in favor of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The story wouldn’t end there, however, as HFCs were found to be potent greenhouse gases with high global warming potential (GWP). EU regulators therefore demanded their phase-out from 2016. By 2024, HFCs must be phased out so industries have been scrambling to find alternative low-global-warming-potential solutions. Unique chemical bonds The answer came in the form of hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), developed by renowned chemist, Rajiv Singh. HFOs are known for their unique chemical bonds, which allow them to break down in just a few days, so they don’t linger in the atmosphere if released and therefore don’t meaningfully contribute to global warming. Since launching its Solstice line of HFO refrigerants in 2012, Honeywell has averted the production of more than 200 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, equivalent to emissions from more than 42 million cars, more than all passenger cars in Germany. Honeywell has averted the production of more than 200 million metric tons of greenhouse gases The automotive industry was one of the first sectors to recognize the strengths of HFOs. During the past 10 years, nearly 75 million cars made in Europe have been fitted with HFO-based air conditioning systems. Supermarkets have also been reaping the benefits; more than 30,000 grocery stores currently use Honeywell’s non-flammable HFO refrigerant, Solstice N40, reducing their energy consumption by 10% and their global warming potential by a factor of three. Residential heat-Pumps HFOs are on the brink of being adopted for domestic use as well. New Honeywell HFO solutions are ideal for residential heat-pumps which enable the elimination of fossil fuel burning in our homes, for heating and for hot water generation. HFOs superior performance deliver ‘best-in-class’ energy efficiency, hence enabling heat pumps to generate more renewable energy from the waste heat vs. alternative solutions. As enablers for energy efficient solutions and systems, HFOs also offer unique opportunities for future developments such as domestic air conditioning, cooling of electronic vehicle batteries and the fast growth of data center cooling. The ‘Green Deal’ is EU flag ship regulation on climate and economy recovery. Overall, buildings are responsible for about 40% of the EU’s total energy consumption, and for 36% of its greenhouse gas emissions from energy. Greenhouse gas emissions These new regulations and the corporation sustainability goals create a range of new opportunities To make it specific, heating and cooling, in the EU is responsible for 80% of energy consumed in residential buildings. Rapid adoption of Heat pumps and improved energy efficient solutions; are key contributors for Europe to reach the ‘Green Deal’ goal of being carbon neutral by 2050 and the recently adopted accelerated ‘fit for 55’ goal to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. Adopting Low Global warning refrigerant, safe & energy efficient cooling solutions and replacing fossil fuel burners with heat pump systems to generate heat; are also key contributors to corporations’ sustainability goals (ESG). These new regulations and the corporation sustainability goals create a range of new opportunities for HFO solutions. As the popularity of HFOs grows, they’ll have a major role in mitigating climate change and enabling a carbon neutral economy. Pharmaceutical supply chains Happily, what’s good for the environment is also good for the economy. HFO production is already creating thousands of long-lasting jobs. The global pandemic stopped many people from enjoying a range of everyday pleasures such as visits to sporting events, restaurants and cinemas; activities at venues that are often reliant on some form of air conditioning and refrigeration, a sharp reminder of the role played by modern refrigerants. The technology continues to develop and evolve ensuring that a range of activities can continue to happen. From protecting the food and pharmaceutical supply chains to ensuring the continued operation of modern communication technology, next generation refrigerants will support some of the most important parts of the modern economy and a better environment.
The energy transition is upon us and we are shifting today’s energy use to low and zero carbon sources. The way in which we heat and provide hot water to our homes and businesses will change, and we are developing technologies that will support this transition. A bold and pragmatic policy framework will encourage investment and drive change. BEIS Hydrogen Strategy We, therefore, welcome the publication of the Hydrogen Strategy from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). This important document details the role and vision for clean hydrogen deployment at scale, in the United Kingdom, building upon the ambitions in last year’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. As an energy carrier, hydrogen has many uses that will help to decarbonize heating, transport and industry. We, therefore, welcome the government’s assurance to the public that hydrogen can be made as safe as natural gas. UK Government’s Contract for Difference The availability of low-cost hydrogen at scale is a key enabler of the deployment of hydrogen for heat Alongside the BEIS Strategy, the UK Government is publishing its proposed business model for supporting hydrogen production, in the form of a Contract for Difference. This approach has been utilized successfully for offshore wind and will enable the sector to invest in early-stage projects, and reduce the cost of hydrogen. The availability of low-cost hydrogen at scale is a key enabler of the deployment of hydrogen for heat. We believe, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, and a whole range of heating technologies will need to be deployed for a range of properties. Baxi Heating, as part of BDR Thermea Group, is at the forefront of developing clean heating solutions, including our ground-breaking development of hydrogen boilers. Hydrogen-ready boilers from 2025 Our work with the Hy4Heat project and associated demonstration sites in the UK show technical feasibility of this solution. We believe the government should act upon advice from the Climate Change Committee and other sources advocating a mandate that all boiler sales from 2025 should be hydrogen-ready, in order to help pre-populate a swathe of the housing stock, ready for a future conversion. Technology, energy efficiency and business models are all bit parts in the wider picture. Skilled installers and contractors will be utterly essential to success, so we are glad to see the announcement of a hydrogen sector development action plan in early 2022, setting out how the government will support companies to secure supply chain opportunities, skills and jobs in hydrogen. UK Heat and Buildings Strategy Following the Hydrogen Strategy, we look forward to several important publications in the lead up to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), including consultations on the role for hydrogen-ready appliances, off gas grid heating measures and the UK Heat and Buildings Strategy.
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