Please download the Electrify Heat Desk Aid, use the following link for a PDF version.
The campaign for clean, safe, and affordable heating for British homes today.
What is a heat pump?
A heat pump takes natural heat from air, water or the ground and raises it to a higher
temperature using a compressor, powered by electricity. That heat is then transferred to your
home. It is possible to think of them as refrigerators or air conditioners in reverse.
Benefits for Households
The cost of heat pumps is falling, by up to 40% in the next 10 years. Households can currently benefit from subsidies like the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to receive up to £6,000. Heat pumps are 3-4 times more energy efficient than gas boilers and have a far longer lifespan.
Heat pumps are an established technology heating homes in Britain today. There are over 40 million units installed across Europe, and over 190 million worldwide! Heat pumps provide safe, clean and affordable heating.
The low carbon heating transition will help the UK meet its legally binding air quality targets and improve people’s health. Heat pumps do not emit any gases at all. In contrast, gas boilers emit both carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and can account for 20% of a city’s air pollution.
Safety and Reliability
Heat pumps do not burn gas so there is no risk of gas leaking or exploding. They are also more reliable than gas boilers – one in five gas boilers broke down in 2017. Air source heat pumps are efficient year-round, thanks to an outstanding SCOP (seasonal coefficient of performance).
Heat pump facts
- In 2021, The Electrification of Heat demonstration project, supported by BEIS and the Energy Systems Catapult, found “there is no property type or architectural era that is unsuitable for a heat pump,” based on a study of 742 different installations around the country.
- Air source heat pumps can work at temperatures as low as -25 degrees and are widely deployed in many of Europe’s coldest countries. Around half of all households in Norway, Finland and Sweden use a heat pump to stay warm.
- A 2022 study for the European Environmental Bureau found that 88% of people across 22 European countries were very happy with their heat pump, and most reported an increase in home comfort.
- A well-engineered commercial ground source heat pump can be expected to last 25 years – ten years longer than a combustion boiler – and the ground heat exchanger, the more expensive part of a GSHP installation, should have a life of over 100 years.
Did you know: the UK Government aims to see 600,000 heat pumps installed each year by 2028.
Benefits for the UK
Fossil Fuel Heating Costs
For every heat pump installed, the UK could save ~£1,100 in wholesale gas cost (Nov, 22). If all UK homes with gas boilers switched to heat pumps, the savings in wholesale gas costs would be equivalent to ~1.2% of GDP. These households will likely save on running costs as the price of gas remains high in coming years.
The UK’s dependence on gas leaves us vulnerable to price shocks and energy security risks. The UK imports 60% of its gas. The largest share of this is used for home heating: 37% of the UK’s total gas consumption in 2021. A future with widespread electric heating, powered by new and existing British renewables, will secure the UK’s political and economic integrity and independence.
Growth and Innovation
To achieve net zero by 2050, the UK will need pioneering British businesses delivering green innovations. Britain can position itself as a global leader in low carbon heating technology. 2021 research from Cambridge Econometrics found that 140,000 new jobs would be created by 2030, and the economy boosted by £9.8bn, if the UK government increases heat pump deployment and energy efficiency measures.
We cannot get to net zero without decarbonising heat, which is responsible for 14% of UK carbon emissions. Domestic gas boilers emit twice as much CO2 as all UK power stations combined. Gas and oil boilers will be banned in new build homes from 2025. Heat pumps are the only viable technology that can fill the gap without continued reliance on fossil fuel.
Our Policy Recommendations
- Embed the phase-out of fossil fuel heating systems in law.
- Put heat pumps at the heart of the Future Homes Standard (the 2023 review of energy efficiency regulations for new build homes).
- Move forward with the market-based mechanism for low-carbon heat (the industry-led transformation of the heating appliance market).
- Boost government-backed subsidy schemes and fine-tuning of subsidy levels.
- Access the opportunities presented by the UK Infrastructure Bank to support mass heat pump deployment.
- Advance electricity price reform, including through the review of electricity market arrangements (REMA).
- Making building regulations and energy services heat pump friendly.
- Provide independent advice and awareness-raising.
- Provide long-term support, funding and promotion for heat pump skills and training.
We would be pleased to answer any questions and discuss opportunities to support the
growing clean tech market. Please contact Leo.Vincent@e3g.org to set up a meeting.