5 reasons the next Prime Minister should make smart, efficient heating an infrastructure priority

With debates hotting up ahead of the General Election, discussions on how the UK shifts away from fossil heating are back on our screens. With more and more people concerned about the impacts of a warming planet, clean heat can help reduce the 14% of UK carbon emissions caused by household heating.

Heat pumps are the standard clean heat technology across the world.

Around 20 million heat pumps are currently installed in Europe, and globally, 177 million heat pumps have been installed. Heat pumps function well in a variety of climates – including in cold Scandinavian countries. A UK study commissioned by the government found that all types of British homes are suitable for a heat pump. New high temperature heat pumps can function well in larger and leakier properties.

The transition to clean heating systems must be a national infrastructure priority for the next government. Here are the top 5 benefits:

1. Heat pumps are the solution to the gas crisis and boost energy independence

As fossil fuel prices continue to fluctuate, a switch to renewable electricity can insulate households from future price spikes, running on clean domestic renewables instead. For every heat pump installed, Nesta estimates that the UK can save around £1,100 in wholesale gas costs. If all 23 million homes with gas boilers switched to a heat pump, the savings in wholesale gas costs would be equivalent to around 1.2% of GDP.

2. Heat pumps can lower bills

Heat pumps help lower energy bills – with big savings for those switching from oil. People switching from polluting oil heating systems can find instant savings on their energy bills. The Conservatives have failed to remove levies from electricity bills as they had promised – per unit of energy, levy costs are almost 8 times more expensive for electricity than gas. Political leaders can further slash heat pump running costs by around £150 by removing these levies.

3. Heat pump costs are coming down

Industry leaders including Octopus, OVO, EDF and Centrica are working hard to offer attractive and affordable consumer offers. In the UK, the average installation cost is £6,000 with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme – not the £10,000 that Sunak has claimed in the first Leaders’ Debate. There are a range of innovations and proposals underway to reduce and spread the upfront costs – including business models like “heat as a service”, and a proposed home upgrade loan scheme.

4. Heat pumps are a major growth and export opportunity

Heat pumps are a major growth and export opportunity and can put Global Britain on the map as a clean tech powerhouse. The UK can turn to its boiler manufacturing capability to tap into the booming global market – with the EU targeting 60m installations by 2030.

5. Heat pumps are a super-efficient way to heat our homes

Heat pumps are at least 3 times as efficient as a gas boiler, with the best heat pumps 5 times as efficient. Air source heat pumps  are typically 200-400% efficient, which means that you get 2-4kWh of heat output for every 1kWh of electricity to run the pump.

Electrify Heat has published our manifesto here, and top eight recommendations here.  

Please contact Leo.Vincent@E3G.org to find out more about the campaign.