Governmental targets for energy saving upgrades are “woefully off track” with 2020 heat pump sales per household the lowest in Europe, according to a new report from Cambridge Econometrics.
The report, commissioned by Greenpeace UK, found that the governmental push to provide heat pumps for the British public is far behind other countries in Europe.
One of the primary methods the government is currently using to drive uptake is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which offers grants of up to £5,000 for the installation of air source heat pumps and £6,000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump.
However, a recent survey from the Ground Source Heat Pump Association (GSHPA), found that the government’s £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme is yet to deliver increased demand for heat pumps.
Despite this, Cambridge Econometrics found that scaling the delivery of green home upgrades, in particular heat pumps, could provide huge environmental and social benefits while also easing the cost-of-living and climate crises. This is of particular concern amid the energy crisis.
Heat pumps along with other green upgrades for housing could provide almost £7 billion for the UK economy and also slash energy bill costs.
“The UK is in an economic, energy and climate meltdown. Yet the government continues to shun the green home upgrades that offer a viable way out of this mess. It’s truly baffling,” said Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK.
“Greening the UK’s homes at speed and scale will reduce energy consumption, bills and carbon emission. It will provide tens of millions of households with warmer homes that are cheaper to run and help limit the catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis.
“Those reasons should be enough on their own, but what’s key is that, as the UK is hurtling towards a recession, it could give a boost of almost £7 billion for the economy by the end of the decade. Insulation and heat pumps may not be sexy but they sure are effective.”
Ramping up the installation of electric-powered heat pumps and home insulation, combined with a shift away from expensive high-carbon fossil fuels and towards cheap, clean renewable energy for electricity production would lead to lower bills, states Greenpeace UK.
This would result in households having more money to spend on non-essential things in other areas of the market providing a boost to the overall economy of the UK, the report finds.
To facilitate this, Greenpeace is now calling on the government to deliver £7 billion of funding over the next two years with an emergency fund to boost short-term measures and upgrade energy efficiency of homes across the UK via several technologies including heat pumps.
“The recent and highly damaging rapid increases in fossil fuel prices have fundamentally altered the economics of the transition,” said Jon Stenning, head of environment at Cambridge Econometrics.
“Improving the quality of the UK’s housing stock and switching to low-carbon heating technologies can bring down household bills immediately and remove struggling households from having to choose between heating and eating this winter, while also delivering greater economic growth and substantial carbon emissions savings in the long term.”