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’.