Reducing emissions must include improvements for rural off gas grid householders

Posted On: 
15th October 2015

Paul Blacklock, Head of Strategy & Corporate Affairs at Calor Gas writes that Calor is investing in low carbon heating and electricity generation technologies to reduce emissions.

The UK Government is committed to the achievement of an ambitious global deal on climate change at the Paris 2015 summit. At the same time, action must be accelerated at home with the setting of an ambitious yet cost-effective 5th Carbon Budget by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

Calor is fully supportive of such an approach to emissions reduction and is devoting significant resources to innovation and diversification.

The CCC has highlighted heat as a key action area for delivering the necessary emissions reductions, but this has to be achieved in a fiscally constrained world without subsidy. The good news is that there has been a huge amount of innovation in the low cost, low carbon gas heating space, including LPG.

The past few years have seen a technical revolution in the boiler market via the emerging deployment of “smart” heating control technologies. These are designed to improve the operating efficiency of heating systems so that real world performance is increased. Due to their relative low upfront costs, these smart solutions represent a cost-effective next step for delivering energy savings and should be rolled out to as many consumers as possible.

Rural off gas grid householders are set to benefit further as Calor is investing to bring low carbon space heating and electricity generation technologies such as micro CHP, fuel cells, hybrids and LP-gas driven heat pumps to market. These products provide consumers with low carbon alternatives to the current range of boiler technologies. More importantly they utilise an established and secure fuel supply infrastructure, working with existing supply chains and the market. This makes them easier and more practical to deploy.  

In addition, from 2016 biopropane will be available providing a fully renewable fuel which can deliver energy in any existing LPG appliance. Replacing existing fossil fuels with biopropane will result in significant carbon savings. Combined with the next generation of LPG technologies an extremely low emission, yet entirely reliable, versatile and reassuring range of heating options will be available to support the achievement of emissions targets.

Calor believes that a clear path should be set for future changes in Building Regulations Part L with respect to boiler replacements. At present, condensing boilers must be fitted. In future it may be possible to set a new minimum standard - for example, requiring the installation of a boiler plus smart technologies or a minimum efficiency standard for heating systems. The UK is the largest gas boiler market in Europe and has a huge domestic industry with sector leading companies based here in Britain employing many thousands of people, plus the more than 100,000 heating installers working in peoples’ homes.

Policies which directly support these established British manufacturing and service industries will have the greatest beneficial impact on the economy at large and have the best chance of success.