There are close to 2 million heating appliances sold in the UK each year, over 80 per cent of which are domestic gas boilers. With 19 per cent of total UK greenhouse gas emissions coming from buildings, I am pleased that the Government has confirmed in the Ten Point Plan and the Energy White Paper that it is exploring cleaner, greener heating for our homes and buildings.
For example, a consultation will run later this year on the role of 'hydrogen ready' appliances, such as boilers, cookers and fires. In addition, the Government is growing the installation of electric heat pumps, from 30,000 per year to 600,000 per year by 2028, which can be used as an alternative to a gas boiler.
By the mid-2030s all newly installed heating systems are expected to be low carbon or to be appliances that can confidently be converted to a clean fuel supply.
The Government has been clear that it wants to give households, suppliers, installers and equipment manufacturers plenty of time to prepare for this transition. As such, the Government will target the point of least disruption to consumers and minimise the impact on the housing market and will therefore look to use natural trigger points, such as the replacement cycle for existing heating systems. It is important to ensure consumers are receiving fair value as they switch to clean heat, which means the Government must work with the market to reduce costs and addressing barriers to the deployment of new technologies.
I do think it is important to look at making new build and existing homes as energy efficient as possible. I welcome that the Government has a target of making all rented non-domestic buildings EPC Band B by 2030, where cost-effective, and supporting as many existing homes as possible to reach EPC Band C by 2035.
Finally, the introduction of the Future Homes Standard will ensure that from 2025, an average home will produce at least 75 per cent lower CO2 emissions than one built to current energy efficiency requirements. Homes built under the Future Homes Standard will be ‘zero carbon ready’, which means that in the longer term, these homes will be future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency. No further retrofit work will be necessary to enable them to become zero carbon homes as the electricity grid continues to decarbonise. The Government will publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course which will take a holistic approach to energy use in buildings and consider product and thermal efficiency as well as heat decarbonisation.