Heat pumps will have a critical role in tackling emissions from London’s buildings and delivering the mayor’s 2030 net zero ambitions, according to a new report.
The report by Carbon Trust includes detailed analysis of the potential to retrofit heat pumps across a range of existing buildings in London and recommends an action plan for scaling up energy efficiency and heat pump retrofit across the capital.
According to the report, heat pump systems have the potential to deliver immediate carbon emission savings of 60-70% compared to conventional electric heating and 55-65% when compared to an efficient gas boiler. As the grid decarbonises further in coming decades these carbon savings are expected to increase to 90-100% of carbon emissions by 2050.
However, heat pumps are not a like-for-like replacement for gas boilers and good practice system design will be essential to their effective deployment.
The report contains guidance for building owners on the technical options for installation and the principles of good practice system design in heat pump retrofit.
Additionally, a prerequisite for the roll out of heat pumps in many buildings will be improved thermal energy efficiency, which is likely to require significant investment from central government, alongside investment and co-ordination with local authorities and the private sector. Retrofitting energy efficiency measures, combined with heat pumps, provides multiple benefits including reducing energy bills, and enabling the heat pump to operate more efficiently.
Heat pumps also allow building occupants to flex their heat demand in response to tariff price signals and other payments for demand side response. The report finds that engaging in demand side response and flexibility markets is hugely beneficial to the financial case for heat pump retrofit, as well as enabling overall grid resilience.
‘Buildings and heat have been identified by the Committee on Climate Change as key challenge areas for decarbonisation in the coming decades, and so the analysis and recommendations detailed in the report to promote low carbon solutions that are available now is very timely,’ said Carbon Trust chief executive, Tom Delay.
‘As always, heat pumps are not a silver bullet solution, which is why we have provided a suite of policy recommendations, including investment in energy efficiency in buildings and flexibility in the energy system.’
The full report – Heat pump retrofit in London – is available to read here.
Photo Credit – Ri (Pixabay)