Gas-Free Property Development highlights Future Goals And Challenges

Last updated: May 30, 2024

A Barratt Homes development named Stewart Reach is set to add 225 low-carbon and energy-efficient properties to the UK market.

The properties, which will comprise a range of two-, three- and four-bedroom houses will be located in Pocklington, East Riding of Yorkshire.

The development will feature gas-free homes utilising air source heat pumps and underfloor heating.

Heat Pumps Are More Efficient And Eco-Friendly

Heat pumps offer energy efficiency levels of around 200% to 300% on average. While they do require electricity to run, they act as low-carbon and energy efficient alternatives to common heating options like gas boilers.

Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) harness energy from the surrounding air. They are easier and less expensive to install than their ground source counterparts. However, the latter option is more consistent since it can provide similar efficiency levels all year round whereas ASHPs see their efficiency reduce during cold weather.

There are currently close to 300,000 domestic heat pumps in the UK. The Department for Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ) is aiming for 600,000 heat pump instalments annually by 2028. However, a recent report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) highlights this as an unlikely goal.

Heat Pump Challenges Persist

An interest in heat pumps is on the rise, with Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) applications increasing substantially in recent times. Nonetheless, further progress is needed for the DESNZ target to become feasible.

The PAC report also raised concerns regarding the costs of heat pumps. The Barratt Homes development will come with heat pumps upon sale, however, the running cost is also an issue.

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Despite being significantly more efficient, heat pumps still cost more to run with the price of electricity around four times that of gas. This more than cancels out the difference in efficiency levels.

The Future Of Low-Carbon Heating Technology

Some ways that heat pumps could become more affordable include technical developments to increase their efficiency, the advancement of renewables to lower the price of electricity and further government supports.

Technology like heat pumps may ultimately help the UK achieve its climate-related goals including becoming carbon net zero by 2050.

The second home heating aspect of the Stewart Reach property development, underfloor heating, is another low-carbon option. This is because they work more efficiently than radiators, thus requiring less energy to achieve the same output.