Concerns raised over suitability of current UK domestic heating systems in journey to Net Zero

29th September 2021
The Manufacturers Association of Radiators and Convectors (MARC), together with the Hot Water Association (HWA), and the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) is urging government to consider the suitability of current UK domestic heating systems to facilitate the transition to Net Zero.
  • Heating up to Net Zero front cover web

Retrofitting homes with low-carbon technologies, like heat pumps and hydrogen boilers, will be key to meeting the UK’s Net Zero targets. However, many of the different heating systems that circulate heat and hot water in properties are not currently appropriate for these emerging technologies, nor are they adequately covered by strategy and policy work.

To outline where improvements need to be made and how different domestic systems can be aligned with the country’s long-term goals, MARC has launched a comprehensive whitepaper entitled Heating up to Net Zero. It has been researched and written by members of the three associations and seeks to clarify what the challenges are, as well as what is required for them to be overcome.

A mix of low carbon technology along with lower temperature heating systems will be required to meet the government’s target of Net Zero by 2050. As most replacement heating appliances are due to a distressed purchase, there is a tendency for the rest of the system to be forgotten.

Homeowners need support to ensure they can plan and upgrade their heating and hot water systems. This will ultimately come down to government initiatives, which is where the whitepaper aims to provide a framework for formulating new policy.

One of the key examples given in Heating up to Net Zero is that reducing the heating flow temperature, may involve replacing radiators through correct sizing and making improvements using room-by-room heat loss calculations based on BS EN 442. Success will depend on a suitable government scheme, supported by information that explains how these new methods will differ to existing consumer systems.

Aside from a focus on the heating system, MARC has also drawn attention to the critical role of installer training. They are a key part of the jigsaw for decarbonising heating and hot water systems, and are the main point of contact with the homeowner. For those both entering the industry, and for individuals who already possess a wealth of experience, getting to grips with new technology will be vital in overall successful implementation.

There are many challenges ahead, but also a number of opportunities, not least in providing extensive retraining for the UK installer base. The Heating up to Net Zero paper looks at these in detail, highlighting the different ageing systems that circulate heat and hot water in our homes, and aims to ensure they are adequately covered by future government policy.

You can download the whitepaper here.