Energy distribution firm launches study to map out which green heating technologies are best-suited to different areas, from rural to urban
A "first of its kind" project to help communities to map out their shift towards a zero carbon heating system has been announced by electricity distributor UK Power Networks (UKPN), in a move aimed at finding street-level green heating solutions in a sector widely seen as one of the UK's biggest net zero challenges.
Nicknamed 'Heat Street', the project will see the distributor work with property owners, local councils, property developers, businesses, academics and consumer groups across London, South and South East England. The project will consider a range of low-carbon heating alternatives - including switching from gas boilers to electric heat pumps, installing cavity wall insulation, switching to another type of heating supply, or various combinations of each - according to UKPN.
Engineers from the company plan to analyse energy efficiency trends and combine information about the properties, homes and socioeconomics of each area in a bid to assess the best net zero pathways for different zones. For example, areas with a high number of flats may be less suitable for heat pumps but could isntead benefit from heat networks, while rural villages that are not connected to the gas network may be more likely to switch to heat pumps, the firm explained.
Using this data, engineers and strategists can then create forecasts for energy use and identify the most efficient pathway to zero-carbon heating in different areas, UKPN said.
"We all know why we need to rapidly decarbonise heating - this project is about working out the 'how'," said Ian Cameron, head of customer services and innovation at UK Power Networks. "We're excited to be getting out there and collaborate to decarbonise heat, bringing together people from all backgrounds to create a local street level map of net zero heating pathways by 2050."
Heating the UK's buildings produces around 120 million tonnes of CO2 annually, and the lion's share of homes and businesses are connected to the national fossil fuel gas grid, which will need overhauling over the next 30 years to deliver the UK's 2050 net zero goal. The UK government has long promised a Heat Decarbonisation Strategy and Energy White Paper to provide a roadmap for decarbonising the sector, but a firm date for publication has still yet to be announced.
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