CCC targets gas heating

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has demanded that no new homes be connected to the gas grid from 2025. In its report UK Housing: Fit for the future, the CCC also says that existing homes should be retrofitted for efficiency and use of heating technologies such as heat networks or heat pumps.

The CCC is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Its purpose is to advise government and report to Parliament on the UK’s progress towards its carbon targets.

The report, published on 21st February 2019, states that: “emissions reductions from the UK’s 29 million homes have stalled, while energy use in homes, which accounts for 14% of total UK emissions, increased between 2016 and 2017.

Electric heating is regarded as a key method for reducing the carbon emissions relating to gas heating, which is currently used in 90% of UK homes. However, the CCC recognises that there cannot be a single solution to the challenge of making homes perform better. “The way new homes are built, and new homes retrofitted often falls short of stated design standards.”

Along with this performance gap in domestic buildings, the CCC highlights the need to close a skills gap in housing design, construction and installation of new technologies. The Committee is scathing about previous government moves in this area, which the report refers to as: “The chopping and changing of UK government policy.”

However, not everyone is in agreement about the plan to move entirely away from gas. The Energy Networks Association chief executive David Smith, commented: “Given the public benefits in decarbonising gas we therefore believe strongly that there is an enduring role for connecting energy efficient homes to the gas grid beyond 2025 and that new homes should not be excluded from these opportunities.”

The Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers also expressed its concerns about the proposal. Ian McCluskey, IGEM’s head of technical services and policy, said: “We would urge the government not to rule out any options lest it impact on the long-term feasibility of a no regrets solution to the decarbonisation of heat.” IGEM Is already working with BEIS on its £25 million Hy4Heat programme, looking at the potential to introduce hydrogen into homes beyond the emergency control valve.

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