In November 2021, Glasgow hosted the most pivotal Climate Change Conference in recent times – United Nations COP26. One message from the conference was clear: we must accelerate heat decarbonisation plans globally in order to reduce carbon emissions and their harmful impact on global climate.
The Scottish Government has committed to reducing Scotland’s carbon emissions by 75% by 2030, with the aim of reaching net zero by 2045. Scotland’s buildings account for approximately 20% of our total greenhouse gas emissions and this is therefore a key area to tackle in reducing our overall emissions output. The Scottish Government is proposing to prohibit the use of direct emissions heating systems in any new buildings applying for a building warrant from April 2024. This means that gas boilers will (largely) be prohibited in future new builds – a dramatic change to the way in which we heat our homes. Instead, the Heat in Buildings Strategy places the emphasis on zero direct emissions heating such as the Air Source Heat Pump.
By 2030, it is expected that all new gas-fired boilers will be phased out which further increases the importance of the heat pump and the need to future-proof the way we heat our homes today.
A challenging statistic from a UK-wide public consultation suggests that only around 50% of people in Scotland have heard of heat pumps. Our new Sustainable Home Centre is here to help change that. We are determined to improve awareness of heat pump technology and the environmental benefits of a move away from fossil-fuel heating systems.
There are two main types of Heat Pump – ground source and air source. Our focus is on Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) as the technology enables these pumps to have a much wider usability across a broad range of properties.
ASHPs extract the heat energy contained within ambient air and upgrade it to a more useful temperature. The technology essentially ‘pushes’ heat (from low to high temperature) against its natural thermodynamic flow – the opposite to the way your fridge works. This heat goes through a series of evaporation, compression, condensation and expansion to provide heat for the heating and hot water system. As the technology is reliant on the air around us, it is a fantastic naturally sustainable form of heating our homes and buildings. Furthermore, ASHPs can work at external temperatures as low as -15 degrees Celsius – a reassuring fact in the cold Scottish winters.
ASHPs do run on electricity in order to harness the heat from the ambient air but heat pumps are much more efficient at using that electricity than even the best gas boilers: heat pumps can turn 1kWh of electricity into up to 4kWh of heat for your home. Therefore, both the environmental and long-term cost benefits remain.